On Tuesday, federal agents converged on Sparboe Farms in Litchfield, executing search warrants and detaining several individuals.
Sparboe, a major egg producer, said in a statement that Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials executed search warrants and that several individuals were detained on “administrative charges,” which are reportedly used in cases when people are suspected of immigration violations.
“We are aware of no issues other than immigration-related issues that would be of concern,” the company said. “There have been no food safety or quality concerns raised, and no Sparboe Farms eggs are at any risk.”
Authorities told the Star Tribune that the operation by immigration and Homeland Security agents was part of a “larger criminal investigation,” but declined to give further details.
A total of 10 people were arrested during the raid but two were later released for “humanitarian reasons,” the Minneapolis newspaper reported.
Sparboe said that it takes compliance with immigration laws “very seriously” and conducts documentation verification to assess the work eligibility of all employees.
“Sparboe Farms invests significant resources in immigration-related compliance,” the company said. “Simply put, Sparboe Farms follows federal immigration laws.”
Sparboe made headlines in late 2011 when it was the subject of a video about animal abuse. Following the release of the video, retailers including Target Corporation, McDonald’s, Lunds and Byerly’s, and Sam’s Club cut ties with the company.