Austin “Jack” DeCoster, son Peter DeCoster, and Patsy Larson, chief financial officer for Quality Egg, are targets of a federal criminal investigation, the Bangor Daily News reported Wednesday.


The newspaper, quoting defense lawyers, said the trio would likely invoke their rights against self-incrimination if called before a federal grand jury in Iowa.

Quality Egg (Wright County Egg) and Hillandale Farms, which together recalled more than a half billion-shell eggs between Aug. 13 and 20, 2010, are blamed for 1,939 Salmonella Enteritidis illnesses that occurred between May 1 and Nov.30, 2010.   

The two Iowa egg production facilities were the western edge of a DeCoster egg empire that stretched to Ohio and Maine.  Son Peter ran the day-to-day operations in Iowa.

The existence of the federal criminal investigation came to light because it is impacting a separate civil lawsuit brought by the California cooperative known as NuCal Foods.  In the civil action, the cooperative claims DeCoster knew his poultry operation had a severe Salmonella Enteritidis contamination problem, but did nothing about it.

Through their lawyers, the DeCosters and Larson have denied “knowingly” letting contaminated eggs get distributed.

  • Phil

    Next question, how about peanuts, where is the ferderal criminal investigation for Peanut Corporation of America’s officers. These people left countless families damaged but go home everyday without a care in the world.
    The only way to stop these practices is to make the trials public and the sentences severe. No “club fed”, I’m talking real prison!

  • Giselle

    It’s about time.

  • C

    I agree. Severe punishment. The conditions of the hens is ridiculous. This company is about nothing but the money.
    What did happen to the peanut company? That guy knew he was guilty, yet the whole story went away?