After outbreak, egg mogul is leaving the industry

Ag/Outdoor

November 21st, 2011 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – A businessman who built one of the nation’s largest egg production operations is getting out of the industry after its farms were found responsible for a nationwide salmonella outbreak. Austin “Jack” DeCoster and his son, Peter, said in a statement they have given up control of egg operations in Iowa, Maine and Ohio, including the farms with filthy conditions that produced salmonella-tainted eggs that sickened about 1,900 people last year. Centrum Valley Farms chief operating officer Steve Boomsma said Monday his firm has signed a lease with an option to purchase DeCoster operations in Iowa. A division of Minnesota-based Land O’ Lakes announced this month it is taking over DeCoster’s Maine egg farms. And Boomsma said there is a deal in the works involving DeCoster’s egg operations in Ohio.