Prosecutors cite safety lapses, ask judge to punish egg executives blamed in salmonella cases

IndustrialsAssociated Press

Federal prosecutors are asking a judge to consider the "widespread harm" done by a nationwide salmonella outbreak in sentencing two egg industry executives whose company was responsible.

In court documents filed Monday, prosecutors said Austin "Jack" DeCoster and his son Peter ran a company that for years "routinely disregarded food safety standards and practices."

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Prosecutors didn't ask for a specific term of jail, home confinement or probation. The DeCosters face up to a year in prison when sentenced next week. Both have pleaded guilty to introducing adulterated eggs into interstate commerce.

The memo said the Decosters were generally aware that their Iowa egg facilities were at risk for producing salmonella-tainted eggs long before the 2010 outbreak, which sickened thousands.

Prosecutors and defense lawyers have already recommended $7 million in fines.