FDA Covers Up Food Safety Violations at Egg Farms

eggfarm02a.jpgAccording to a recent article in the Des Moines Register, more than a year after 1,900 people were sickened and half a billion salmonella-poisoned eggs from Iowa were recalled, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspectors continue to document unsanitary conditions and public safety hazards at Iowa egg farms. The article states that instead of issuing fines or penalties, however, the FDA has been covering up these violations by blacking out critical elements of reports and withholding key information from the public - including brand names under which potentially contaminated eggs are sold.

Iowa is the leading egg-producing state in the country, and one of the leading egg producers in Iowa is a man named Austin "Jack" DeCoster - whose criminal rap sheet includes charges of indenturing migrant workers, exploiting young children and being deemed a "habitual violator" of state environmental laws by the Iowa Attorney General. DeCoster's egg farms were also at the center of one of the largest egg recalls in United States history last year, and following an MFA undercover cruelty investigation at one of his egg factory farms in New England, DeCoster pleaded guilty to 10 counts of cruelty to animals and paid over $130,000 in fines and restitution.

Despite these repeated violations of state and federal laws, DeCoster and other egg industry giants continue to get a free pass to endanger public health, the environment and animal welfare. While the FDA fails to hold the egg industry accountable for food safety violations, some pro-factory farming legislators in Iowa have been pushing to criminalize whistleblowers in order to further protect factory farmers from public scrutiny - a testament to the power of this multi-billion dollar industry.

However, the egg industry's power is beginning to wane as the public becomes increasingly aware of its rotten practices. In fact, according to The Wall Street Journal, the demand for eggs has been steadily declining every year since 2006. Egg farms are now even losing money around Easter, which had typically been the third-busiest time of the year for the industry.

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