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Harvest Public Media is a reporting collaboration focused on issues of food, fuel and field. Based at KCUR in Kansas City, Harvest covers these agriculture-related topics through an expanding network of reporters and partner stations throughout the Midwest.Most Harvest Public Media stories begin with radio- regular reports are aired on member stations in the Midwest. But Harvest also explores issues through online analyses, television documentaries and features, podcasts, photography, video, blogs and social networking. They are committed to the highest journalistic standards. Click here to read their ethics standards.Harvest Public Media was launched in 2010 with the support of a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Today, the collaboration is supported by CPB, the partner stations, and contributions from underwriters and individuals.Tri States Public Radio is an associate partner of Harvest Public Media. You can play an important role in helping Harvest Public Media and Tri States Public Radio improve our coverage of food, field and fuel issues by joining the Harvest Network.

Iowa Egg Farm Charged in Salmonella Outbreak

Pietro Izzo/Flickr

The former operators of a large egg farm in Iowa have agreed to plead guilty to federal charges in connection with a major salmonella outbreak in 2010.

Federal officials have charged Austin “Jack” DeCoster, his son Peter and their company, Quality Egg, with allowing the salmonella-contaminated eggs to reach consumers.

They’re also charged with mislabeling eggs and attempting to bribe a USDA inspector. More than 500 million eggs were recalled and at least 2,000 people became sick from the outbreak.

The case is the latest example of prosecutors bringing criminal charges against food producers for sickening customers. Two Colorado farmers pleaded guilty in 2013 to selling cantaloupe contaminated with listeria that killed thirty-three people nationwide.

A former manager at the Quality Egg farm, Tony Wasmund, previously agreed to a guilty plea after being charged with offering a $300 bribe to a USDA inspector. One attorney who represented some of those who fell sick speculated in a blog post that federal lawyers might try to use Wasmund’s grand jury testimony to press additional charges.

U.S. Attorney Peter Deegan filed an information, or a criminal complaint, in federal court in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Court documents indicate the defendants have waived their right to an indictment. They will issue their guilty pleas during a federal court hearing in Iowa on June 3.

The DeCosters have sold their egg operations in Iowa, Maine and Ohio.

In 2012, a strain of salmonella different from the one implicated in the 2010 outbreak was found on one of the DeCosters’ former farms in Iowa, which by then was under new ownership.

Amy Mayer is a reporter based in Ames. She covers agriculture and is part of the Harvest Public Media collaboration. Amy worked as an independent producer for many years and also previously had stints as weekend news host and reporter at WFCR in Amherst, Massachusetts and as a reporter and host/producer of a weekly call-in health show at KUAC in Fairbanks, Alaska. Amy’s work has earned awards from SPJ, the Alaska Press Club and the Massachusetts/Rhode Island AP. Her stories have aired on NPR news programs such as Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Weekend Edition and on Only A Game, Marketplace and Living on Earth. She produced the 2011 documentary Peace Corps Voices, which aired in over 160 communities across the country and has written for The New York Times, Boston Globe, Real Simple and other print outlets. Amy served on the board of directors of the Association of Independents in Radio from 2008-2015.