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Courts and Crime

DeCosters Sentenced to 3 Months for Salmonella Outbreak

By Josh Funk, The Associated Press
SIOUX CITY, Iowa - Two former egg industry executives have been sentenced to three months in jail for their roles in a major 2010 salmonella outbreak that sickened thousands.

Austin "Jack'' DeCoster and his son Peter were sentenced Monday on shipping adulterated food charges. They will remain free while appealing the sentence.

The DeCosters wanted to avoid jail, but U.S. District Judge Mark Bennett heeded prosecutors' calls for a tough punishment because of the widespread harm the outbreak caused.

Prosecutors also said the DeCosters knew their Iowa egg facilities were at risk for contamination.

Federal health officials linked 1,939 illnesses to the outbreak but estimate up to 56,000 people may have been sickened.

The Quality Egg company paid a $6.8 million fine as part of a plea agreement, and the DeCosters paid $100,000 apiece.