Timeline of Shame: Decades of DeCoster Egg Factory Violations

Finally, what everyone knows: In August 2010, 550 million eggs linked to two DeCoster-owned facilities in Iowa were recalled. The details released by the FDA were eerily familiar: unsafe electrical conditions, improperly kept manure, infestations of mice and maggots and flies, sick hens. The Iowa barns, largely self-policed, look exactly like the Turner barns before Maine litigation tightened oversight. DeCoster's string of misdoings in other states—environmental violations, stunning management abuses, and dangerous conditions for workers and animals—show that in his 1996 OSHA ruling, the former Labor Secretary Robert Reich was prophetic when he denounced DeCoster as a "habitual violator."

No one I spoke with in Maine expressed surprise that the DeCoster was finally named as the culprit in this year's outbreak. The man who is perhaps the country's largest egg producer has been allowed to menace the country like a robber baron, holding residents in perpetual fear and discomfort while he does exactly as he pleases. "He goes along for a little while, and then he'll slip back into past practices," one resident who did not wish to be named in this article told me. We can only wait to see if now, after a national outrage, there will be a next time and a time after that.

Presented by

Joe Fassler is a writer based in Brooklyn. His fiction has appeared in The Boston Review, and he regularly interviews authors for The Lit Show. In 2011, his reporting for TheAtlantic.com was a finalist for a James Beard Foundation Award in Journalism.

The Case for Napping at Work

Most Americans don't get enough sleep. More and more employers are trying to help address that.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Case for Napping at Work

Most Americans don't get enough sleep. More and more employers are trying to help address that.

Video

A Four-Dimensional Tour of Boston

In this groundbreaking video, time moves at multiple speeds within a single frame.

Video

Who Made Pop Music So Repetitive? You Did.

If pop music is too homogenous, that's because listeners want it that way.

Video

Playing An Actual Keyboard Cat

A music video transforms food, pets, and objects into extraordinary instruments.

Video

Stunning GoPro Footage of a Wildfire

In the field with America’s elite Native American firefighting crew

Video

The Man Who Built a Forest Larger Than Central Park

Since 1979, he has planted more than 1,300 acres of trees.

More in Health

Just In