Davisco Foods division hit with $88k EPA penalty

By Joseph James Whitworth

- Last updated on GMT

Risk Management Plan regulations are to prevent chemical accidents
Risk Management Plan regulations are to prevent chemical accidents

Related tags Risk management Management

A division of Davisco Foods International has settled with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for failing to comply with Clean Air Act Risk Management Plan regulations.

Violations, which have since been corrected, were at the Jerome Cheese manufacturing facility in Jerome, Idaho.

The company agreed to the $88,000 settlement but was not required and did not confirm or deny the allegations in the Consent Agreement and Final Order (CAFO).

FoodQualityNews.com has contacted Davisco Foods for comment on the decision.

Plan to prevent chemical accidents

EPA alleges that the company had numerous violations of the Risk Management Plan planning requirements.

These included poor record-keeping, failure to update Process Hazard Analysis and offsite consequence analysis, incomplete or missing safety system information, failure to provide timely refresher safety training for plant operators and failure to establish and implement written procedures for maintaining plant process equipment.

Ed Kowalski, director of EPA’s enforcement program in Seattle, said risk management planning can save people’s lives.

“By creating a solid plan and making it central to your business operation, companies can reduce the chances of a chemical release and lower risks to both plant workers and the surrounding community. It also minimizes the risk of paying serious EPA penalties.”

Anhydrous ammonia use

Under the Risk Management Planning section of the Clean Air Act, facilities that handle large amounts of chemicals are required to develop a risk management program and properly operate and maintain equipment.

Jerome Cheese is regulated as it annually uses more than 10,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia, a colorless gas commonly used in industrial refrigeration systems.

Most accidents with anhydrous ammonia occur from uncontrolled or accidental releases.

Exposure to its vapors can cause temporary blindness and eye damage and irritation of the skin, mouth, throat, respiratory tract and mucous membranes.

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