SENTENCING has been scheduled for Feb. 12 for Tony Wasmund, who filed a guilty plea of conspiracy to bribe a federal food safety inspector.
Wasmund was a supervisor at a number of farms in northern Iowa in 2010 that were owned by Jack DeCoster and were found to be responsible for an outbreak of salmonella that made more than 1,900 people sick (Feedstuffs, Aug. 23 and Aug. 30, 2010). The outbreak prompted the recall of 550 million shell eggs -- 45.8 million doz. -- the largest-ever egg recall.
Wasmund acknowledged that he authorized -- prior to the outbreak -- giving $300 in petty cash to another employee to bribe the inspector to permit the sale of eggs that had been withheld because they did not meet federal food safety standards.
He is scheduled to appear in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa and faces a maximum of five years in prison. He has been free pending sentencing.
DeCoster subsequently entered lease-to-sell agreements for his farms in Iowa and elsewhere and has quit the egg business (Feedstuffs, Nov. 28, 2011).