The owner and manager of a poultry farm in Lunteren, province of Gelderland, have been found guilty of endangering public health by selling salmonella-contaminated eggs. The Zwolle Regional Court ruled on Thursday and sentenced 51-year-old company director Bertus V. and 43-year-old manager Sieh van der V. to six months in prison and 200 hours of community service.
The incident came to light in June 2017 after people from another German company gathered for an internal barbecue. Eight employees became ill and eventually one, a 22-year-old, died from the disease. All eight were found to have eaten salmonella-contaminated eggs.
The death of the man led to an investigation at the Wurterswoude site of the Lunteren Poultry Company. The salmonella contamination found there matched samples taken from victims in Germany. The eggs I got for the barbecue were from Gelderland. According to the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the Dutch Food and Consumer Products Safety Agency (NVWA) knew nothing about the contamination because the positive samples were covered up on behalf of the company.
A form from the company asked the lab not to report the infection to the NVWA, according to the investigation. Van der V denied covering up the contamination. He wasn’t interested in that either. “You won’t get a penny extra for that,” he told the court.
Bartus V, he claimed, did not track infections at his company’s four locations. “The boys were following it very well,” he told a judge at a hearing a few weeks ago. Both men said they were unaware of the positive samples.
A court ruled that the two must have known about the contamination. In July 2016, a chicken farm was already contaminated with salmonella, but no concrete measures were taken after that. According to the court, the salmonella problem was still present when the eggs were delivered to the German company in May 2017. The court found it hard to believe that the positive tests in the summer of 2016 were from samples outside the company’s premises. The court noted that several samples were taken in quick succession and only the last sample was found to be negative. The court suspects that more samples than usual were taken before a negative result was obtained.
Prosecutors accused the suspects of being careless with a potentially fatal bacterial infection, but the suspects were dropped in the death of a 22-year-old man. The court made no further mention in its judgment. The sentencing imposed was equivalent to the sentence sought by the public prosecutor’s office. The poultry company was also fined €80,000, lower than the recommended fine of €140,000. The court considered that a considerable amount of time had passed since the discovery of the contamination.
No charges were filed against the Dyphen laboratories involved in the incident. Prosecutors have previously said they reached a settlement.
https://nltimes.nl/2023/05/25/prison-poultry-farm-managers-hid-fatal-salmonella-contamination Poultry Farm Manager’s Prison Covered Up Deadly Salmonella Contamination