Friday, August 20, 2010

Rotten Eggs

As the economy continues to spiral down a record number of Americans are tapping their 401(k) to pay the bills. Both loans against savings and emergency withdrawals are up from last year. On the other end, 25% of employers have stopped making contributions and more employees have jobs that don’t even offer retirement accounts to begin with.

As well as worrying about that smell coming from your nest egg, you need to think about throwing out the ones in your refrigerator. The egg recall has spread to all five farms in Iowa owned by Jack DeCoster Inc. and has also been applied to the farms of another corporation a hundred miles away. It’s starting to look like bad feed which could be from something like contaminated fish protein that’s added to chicken feed but we don‘t know yet.

The last such outbreak was from the anti-biotic drugs they were using to keep the chickens laying eggs under horrible conditions or it could be some entirely new corporate malfeasance. The number of eggs involved has gone past a half billion and they’ve stopped announcing the number of eggs when adding new plant numbers and brands to the list. One brand recalled turned out to be counterfeit packaging according to the brand’s owner who denied authorizing DeCoster to package eggs under their name.

Jack DeCoster is well known for how many times he’s been charged with just about any violation that a giant corporate farm can be. Everything from massive manure spills into waterways to animal cruelty and neglect on a massive scale. He’s been fined 2 million dollars for knowingly hiring illegal immigrants and charged by OSHA for abusing workers in a variety of ways. Including but not limited to forcing them handle dead animals without gloves or protective masks in the presence of government inspectors and forcing them to live rat infested trailers adjacent to manure storage.

On a farm like this the volume of manure exceeds the sewage output of a large city. The ammonia and other chemicals in the air routinely exceeds EPA safety levels. Jack DeCoster’s hog operations in Iowa racked up so many violations in the 1990’s that the Iowa Attorney General classified him a habitual violator in 2000.

The truth is that there has always been food poisoning but as bigger and bigger corporations control nearly all food production the problem has become one of scale. Not only does the outbreak affect huge numbers of people but the “economies of scale” these corporate “farms” operate at allow them to do things no small farmer would dream of. A little chemical here, a little recombinant DNA there, what could go wrong?


ickenittle said...

I'd like some yummy "Fork tender pork,"to go with my contaminated eggs please. "Fork tender" is a what happens to a male hog given female hormones. Sounds yummy doesn't it. Thank you Hormel, or should I say hormonemale.

Anonymous said...

And this guy, DeCoster, is still not only running around loose, but still in business! That's the big crime here. People like this should be put out of business, period.

SanMigMike said...

I guess that is what blows my mind is that these guys and people like the Koch brothers fund groups that scream that blacks, Latinos and of course poor white trash should be "responsible" and ethical while they look at "ethics" as being as what they can get away with and how the cost/loss ratio is when you produce products that kill people.

Middle or lower class people that support these people's ideals is not too unlike being in a group such as "Jews for the Inquisition", "Blacks for the KKK", "Republican Gays". At some point you have to think and stop carrying water for people that are working to screw you, your family and your country just so they can make a few more million dollars.