Austin "Jack" DeCoster owns Wright County Egg in Iowa, a farm reportedly linked to the salmonella outbreak. But investigators for the House Committee on Energy and Commerce say three Maine farms, including one he formerly owned, appear to have ties to him as well, The Boston Globe reported.
"The companies appear to be linked to DeCoster, but we don't know what role, if any, they played in the recall,'' said Karen Lightfoot, a committee spokeswoman.
More than 1,500 people have been infected with salmonella in recent months, an outbreak believed to be caused by eggs produced at two farms in Iowa. No cases have been linked to eggs produced by Dorothy Egg Farms, Mountain Hollow Egg Farms and Quality Egg of New England, all in Maine.
Andrew Robinson, an assistant prosecutor in Androscoggin County, Maine, said he investigated a case of animal cruelty at Mountain Hollow. He said the company leased the plant from DeCoster.
"It's a sophisticated business enterprise," he said. "But when you check all these entities, they ultimately all come back to Jack DeCoster.''