IOWA CITY, Iowa — The Iowa egg producers blamed for a 2010 salmonella outbreak have settled a lawsuit brought by a California distributor that lost profits from the foodborne illnesses and the resulting product recalls, court records show.
Quality Egg and Hillandale Farms reached the settlement Thursday with NuCal Foods Inc., ending three years of litigation in federal court in Sacramento that shed light on the outbreak and its aftermath.
Financial terms were not immediately released. Quality Egg was based in Galt, Iowa, and owned by Jack DeCoster, who built one of the nation’s largest egg production empires while amassing a long history of violating food safety, labor and environmental rules. Hillandale Farms had ties to DeCoster’s operations, processing and marketing shell eggs from some Quality Egg plants.
The companies issued recalls covering 550 million eggs in 2010, after scientists traced illnesses back to their farms in northern Iowa, described by investigators as filthy.
The government has estimated that up to 62,000 people were sickened in the outbreak.