Support Local Journalism. Join Riverfront Times Press Club.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Does DeCoster Egg Farms Have (Salmonella-Tainted) Egg on Its Face Conscience?

Posted By on Wed, Sep 22, 2010 at 9:00 AM

A fascinating and deeply disturbing article in today's New York Times: DeCoster Egg Farms, the egg "empire" founded by Austin J. DeCoster that is at the center of the recent salmonella outbreak in eggs, has played a key role in the spread of salmonella over the past two decades.

Farms tied to Mr. DeCoster were a primary source of Salmonella enteritidis in the United States in the 1980s, when some of the first major outbreaks of human illness from the bacteria in eggs occurred, according to health officials and public records. At one point, New York and Maryland regulators believed DeCoster eggs were such a threat that they banned sales of the eggs in their states.

The larger problem is suggested by the final sentence of the above paragraph. DeCoster Egg Farms (and, one presumes, other egg farms) are subject to the regulations (or lack thereof) of different states rather than one standard.

For example, Iowa, where Mr. DeCoster has five farms tied to the current outbreak, required no testing.

And the federal government, at times under pressure from Congress and the industry to limit regulation, spent two decades debating national egg safety standards. New rules finally went into effect in July -- too late to prevent the current round of illness.

Austin J. DeCoster is slated to testify before Congress today. In a prepared statement, he apologizes for the outbreak.

Tags: ,

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

July 21, 2021

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

© 2021 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation