The recent egg recall started from Wright county egg due to salmonella enteritidis outbreak. Hillandale Farms have joined the recall and now more than half a billion eggs are on recall. The Federal health official feel that the salmonella outbreak may rise even more as people still have infected eggs in their refrigerator. Fifteen outbreaks out of 26 have been traced back to Wright County Egg. Washington Post covered a detailed story on Wright County Egg and revealed that the company has a long history of violation and had paid fines for these violations.
History about the company
Wright County Egg is owned by the DeCoster family for past 20 years and is one of the 10 largest egg producers in the country. The company was started in Turner, Maine, when Austin Jack DeCoster was 15: DeCoster took over the family business after death of his father with 125 chickens and expanded business to more than 15 million chickens. Now in his 70s, he runs the company with his sons Peter, in Iowa, and Jay, in Maine.
About the violations
There is a long laundry list of violations that Wright County Egg has done over the past several years. The violation ranges from safety and health issues to sexually abusing employees. In June, for instance, the family agreed to pay a $34,675 fine stemming from allegations of animal cruelty against hens in its 5 million-bird Maine facility. We would like to highlight the violations, our readers are encouraged to go through the details of violations referenced in the source of the article.
- in 1996 the company was fined $3.6 billion dollars for forcing workers to handle manure with bare hands and live in filthy trailers.
- in 2001, DeCoster Farms of Iowa settled, for $1.5 million for a complaint that the company had subjected 11 undocumented female workers from Mexico to a “sexually hostile work environment,” including sexual assault and rape by supervisors.
- In 2008, OSHA cited DeCoster’s Maine Contract Farming for violations that included forcing...
workers to retrieve eggs the previous winter from inside a building that had collapsed under ice and snow.
Above mentioned violations are just examples of violations that company has conducted. Most of the violations are related to abusing workers in some fashion or other.
Goodwill of Wright County Eggs
In spite of the volitions, state regulators said that the company has improved in recent years. Kevin Baskins, a spokesman for Iowa’s Department of Natural Resources, said that “One of the things I’ve always said about DeCoster is that when there’s a problem at his facilities, he acts fast,” he said. “They’re not going to sit around and question you, ‘Do we really need to do that?’ If we see a spill that needs to be stopped, they do it.”
Apart from having the company, DeCoster is a one of the biggest employers in the areas it operates and has done good things for the community. Some of them include:
- In Turner it provides $4.8 million in taxes per year
- In Galt, Iowa, the DeCosters has given money to the library
- serves as livelihood for many farmers that produce chicken feed and cheap fertilizer
The reports say that the company is cooperating with health officials to pull the country out of this salmonella crisis. I hope that you will do your part and look into your refrigerator for the recalled eggs and dispose them appropriately.