Anhydrous ammonia tank

Three Maine Processing Plants to Pay Penalties to Settle Alleged Ammonia Safety Violations

Aug. 22, 2023
EPA says Wyman’s and Barber Foods facilities violated Clean Air Act accident prevention requirements and will pay a total of $373,490 in penalties.

Two food processors in the state of Maine will pay $373,490 in penalties to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to settle anhydrous ammonia safety violations claimed by the agency.

Milbridge, Maine-based Jasper Wyman & Son, which specializes in producing wild blueberries and other adjacent processed products, will pay $73,490 to settle alleged violations of the Clean Air Act’s chemical accident prevention requirements at its Cherryfield facility. It will also provide training for local emergency personnel on ammonia release response actions and donate equipment to the Cherryfield fire department to aid response capabilities there.

Barber Foods, a frozen-poultry processor and subsidiary of Tyson Foods located in Portland, which faced separate charges from the EPA, will pay $300,000 for violating the Clean Air Act’s Risk Management Plan at its Milliken Street and St. John Street facilities.

EPA inspections at the facilities alleged that the companies failed to identify, analyze and control certain hazards, did not document compliance with good engineering practices, and violated equipment maintenance standards.

A Wyman’s representative told local media the company was in full compliance with the latest ammonia refrigeration accident prevention requirements. Tyson Foods had yet to comment.

In addition, Wyman’s told the news outlet: “This settlement is related to allegations that Jasper Wyman & Son did not maintain full compliance with the latest ammonia refrigeration accident prevention requirements, identified during a routine inspection of the Cherryfield facility four years ago in 2019. To be clear, this is not in response to any type of accident or release.”

About the Author

Andy Hanacek | Senior Editor

Andy Hanacek has covered meat, poultry, bakery and snack foods as a B2B editor for nearly 20 years, and has toured hundreds of processing plants and food companies, sharing stories of innovation and technological advancement throughout the food supply chain. In 2018, he won a Folio:Eddie Award for his unique "From the Editor's Desk" video blogs, and he has brought home additional awards from Folio and ASBPE over the years. In addition, Hanacek led the Meat Industry Hall of Fame for several years and was vice president of communications for We R Food Safety, a food safety software and consulting company.

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