Wednesday was a difficult day for The American Independent News Network, which is the larger entity that operates The Iowa Independent. Our chief executive and founder announced two of our sister sites would close and their content would be moved to The American Independent.
Sierra Club seeks state investigation of Iowa egg producers, feed mill
Iowa’s Sierra Club affiliate wants state officials to launch a formal investigation of the two egg producers and feed mill that have been implicated in one of the nation’s largest Salmonella outbreaks.
Wallace Taylor, legal chairman for the group and a resident of Cedar Rapids, authored the organization’s letter to Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, which calls out Wright County Egg, Hillandale Farms and the Quality Egg LLC feed mill by name. All of the businesses have direct connections to the Austin “Jack” DeCoster family, which has several times run afoul of state and federal agribusiness regulators.
“We believe enough information has been published in the press and on the [U.S.] Food and Drug Administration website to warrant serious penalties against Wright County Egg and Hillandale Farms,” wrote Taylor.
“From all accounts, Jack DeCoster has had a troubled history with respect to following the law concerning his animal operations both in Iowa and out of state. … Over a long period of time, Mr. DeCoster has shown a wanton disregard for the law with respect to his businesses; the situation surrounding the egg recall is more of the same behavior.”
If the state decides to open an investigation against the businesses, Taylor and the Sierra Club hope that it is done “with an eye toward internal policy changes, legislative needs, and administrative rule changes.” They believe state agencies need to review existing policy and that “legislation needs to be undertaken.”
Those items singled out by the Sierra Club as in need of review are:
- Requiring mandatory vaccinations of chickens against salmonella
- Mandatory instead of voluntary recall of eggs and other food products when it is determined that they have become contaminated.
- Funding for regulatory staff to monitor concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) so that problems like these egg producers are not allowed to fester for years needs to be significantly increased.
- Monitoring of the feed mills producing feed for CAFOs needs to be implemented and enforced. Industrial-sized feed mills should require extra inspection due to the large numbers of animals eating the food.
“The bad apples, including the companies involved in the egg recall, must be stopped,” wrote Taylor.
Although the exact details and breadth of an ongoing federal investigation remain unclear, both Jack DeCoster and Orland Bethel, owner of record for Hillandale Farms, have been called to appear before Congress.