Eggo waffle maker to pay $85,000 fine after conviction for releasing toxic ammonia from a factory in San Jose, California, in January 2021, prosecutors said.
Kellogg’s spokesman Kris Bahner said in a statement Wednesday: “At Kellogg’s, the safety of our workers and the environment are top priorities. Fortunately, no one was injured in the incident last year.
“Since then, we have made a series of significant improvements in our processes and protocols to ensure we have the safest possible environment for our employees and neighbors,” Bahner added.
According to the Santa Clara, California, district attorney’s office, the incident occurred when a subcontractor damaged a pipeline which began to leak anhydrous ammonia. Eggo managers did not call 911 for more than an hour, believing they had stopped the leak.
During the delay, 3,400 pounds of anhydrous ammonia leaked from the factory into the neighborhood, causing residents to they had to take refuge for several hours until the leak was stopped, prosecutors said.
The company was criminally charged with negligently discharging an air pollutant, not immediately reporting the leakproviding inadequate training to contractors and failing to implement a proper emergency action plan.
“Public safety and the environment are threatened with every minute that passes in these cases,” said Assistant District Attorney Jason Bussey. “When companies do not immediately report a leak, face dire consequences”.
Eggo has cooperated with regulatory authorities since the incident and is updating its systems and procedures to prevent future gas emissions, prosecutors said.
Although no injuries were reported, authorities noted that anhydrous ammonia is a toxic gas that can cause “serious injury or death”.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration notes that this substance commonly used as a coolant in industrial facilities that process meat, dairy, alcoholic beverages and more. Eggo uses the substance at its San Jose factory to freeze waffles, the district attorney’s office said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, exposure to the toxic gas or liquid can cause injuries such as burns, frostbite, lung irritation, and corrosion damage to the eyes, throat, stomach and other parts of the bodydepending on the type of exposure.
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Source: La Opinion