… the man behind the egg scandal.
From News Blaze:
The Iowa attorney general called him a “habitual violator” of state laws.
Labor Secretary Robert Reich called his farms “atrocious.”
Maine Contract Farming, formerly the DeCoster Egg Farm, has a three decade-long complaint history from workers, neighbors, environmental officials, labor officials and humane workers.
In 1977 neighbors whose homes were infested with insects filed a $5 million lawsuit, claiming nose plugs and flyswatters should be the “new neighbor” kit.
In 1980, the DeCoster operation was charged with employing five 11-year-olds and a 9-year-old by the Labor department.
In 1988, 100,000 chickens burned to death in a fire and were left to decompose.
In 1992, DeCoster was charged by the state, with indenturing migrant workers, denying them contact with teachers, social workers, doctors, lawyers and labor organizers.
In 1996, federal investigators found DeCoster workers living in rat and cockroach infested housing and the egg operation was fined $3.6 million.
(“The conditions in this migrant farm site are as dangerous and oppressive as any sweatshop we have seen,” said Labor Secretary Robert Reich; “I thought I was going to faint and I was only there a few minutes,” said Cesar Britos, an attorney representing DeCoster workers, after entering a barn.”)
In 2001 dead hens intermingled with live ones during truck transport sparked a complaint to the Department of Agriculture.
Workers’ drinking water has been found contaminated with feces by OSHA and after a conciliatory “free” chicken banquet offered to workers, they were docked for their time eating it, reported the Portland Press Herald.
But Jack DeCoster, using Boston spinmeister George Regan for public relations, has always avoided criminal convictions and farm closures and even expanded his empire from egg farms in Maine to pig farms in Iowa in the 1990s.
As the salmonella egg scandal spreads [550 million recalled so far], authorities say they are having a hard time tracing the egg industry’s “distribution chain” of which DeCoster is such a major part. That’s because when it only harmed animals, workers and the environment they let it run unregulated.
H/T: Uppity Woman
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