DeCoster apologizes for salmonella outbreak - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

DeCoster apologizes for salmonella outbreak

WASHINGTON D.C. (KWWL) -- The owner of an Iowa egg company linked to the massive salmonella outbreak is testified before a congressional committee Wednesday.

It was last month when half a billion eggs were recalled because of fears that they were tainted with salmonella.

Since then the man at the center of the controversy has not spoken with the media, owner of Wright County Egg Jack DeCoster.

On Wednesday, he and his son faced off with the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee.

"We apologize to everyone who may have been sickened by eating out eggs. I've prayed several times each day for all of these people for improved health," said Jack DeCoster.

Two women who were sickened by the eggs testified about their experiences.

"While in the ICU I started to develop severe tachycardia and was moved to the critical care heart unit for three days," said Sarah Lewis of California.

"The ride to the hospital was very unpleasant, I was quite sick," said Carol Lobato of Colorado.

Committee members did not take it easy on the DeCosters saying that despite the unsanitary conditions found at their plants they were trying to pass the blame onto their supplier of chicken feed.

"Number one, you've got too much manure flowing out of your building, you've got cracks, you've got dead mice, you've got dead chickens, and you've got maggots. That stuff didn't just happen over night. I agree you're a big operation, but with big operations come big responsibilities," said Representative Bart Stupak of Michigan.

"It sounds like to me that both of you are refusing to take responsibility for a very poor facility," said Representative Henry Waxman of California.

"I mean this is an issue that I feel terrible has occurred and it's effecting our industry," said Peter DeCoster.

Along with Wright County Egg, Hillandale Farms of Iowa was also represented during the hearing. However, Orland Bethel, the president of the company declined to answer any of the committee's questions, invoking his constitutional right.

 

Online Reporter: John Wilmer

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