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Feds Link Tainted Eggs To Farm In April Valley
APRIL VALLEY (CAP) - As the recall of salmonella-laced eggs climbs over half a billion, government regulators say they've isolated the source of the epidemic to a farm located in April Valley. According to CAP News sources, the farm in question is owned by Peter Cottontail, who is being sought for questioning by federal officials.
"It's true that they do want to talk to Peter about those eggs, but nobody knows where is," said the source, who asked to be identified only by his first name, Seymour. "The last time I saw him, he was sleeping on my big toe, but I haven't seen him since."
A witness claims to have overheard Cottontail say he was leaving April Valley forever, and authorities are concerned he may have hitched a ride on the Yestermorrowmobile with a wanted French fugitive known only as Antoine. It's believed he may be attempting to try to fix the situation himself, but they fear he could just make matters worse.
"If we cannot locate him, the effects of this recall could extend right through Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas - maybe all the way to St. Patrick's Day," said Occupational Safety and Health Administration spokesperson Bonnie Bonnet. "We are urging Peter Cottontail to think of the children and please turn himself in."
Bonnet did confirm that OSHA is also following up on an anonymous tip that rival egg producer January Irontail may have sabotaged Peter Cottontail's crop of eggs in an attempt to gain market share by discrediting his competitor's product with the salmonella. Lab tests on a wad of bubble gum found at Cottontail's home came back positive for Irontail's DNA.
"No doubt in my mind that nasty old Irontail is behind all this," said Cottontail mentor Wellington Bunny. "I have faith in you, Peter my boy, that you will do the right thing and restore the public's confidence in April Valley."
Documents obtained by CAP News show that Irontail has been cited for numerous health, safety and employment violations in the past. According to a 1996 settlement, Irontail made employees work during horrendous weather conditions and forced them to make chocolate tarantulas and octopuses instead of colorful eggs and decorations.
"The conditions we found were among the worst around the country," Robert Reich, President Clinton's secretary of labor, said at the time. "The fact that it's in April Valley rather than in New York or Los Angeles doesn't change the nature of the offense. It's morally repugnant."
An Irontail associate identified in court papers as Montresor turned state's evidence against the egg farm owner back in 1996, a move widely regarded as instrumental in the landmark settlement. Now officials are hoping to exploit a recent falling out between Irontail and partner Jackie Frost to determine whether the current allegations brought to light by the anonymous tip hold any merit.
"If we can land an indictment in federal court," said one U.S. special prosecutor, "Irontail will be friggin' janitor of April Valley by the time we're through. Mark my words."
Meanwhile, the snack food industry has relaunched its campaign touting the health benefits of its foodstuffs. Snacks offer "all the cholesterol with none of the salmonella," said Frank Johansen of the Snack Food Association. "Or at the worst, half the salmonella. Either way, the consumer benefits."
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