Ammonia Leak at Food Processing Co

Source: Vitaliy Vodolazskyy - 123RF

Darien, WI – An ammonia leak at a food processing plant late last month that sent 15 workers to the hospital, is the latest in several workplace safety issues at Birds Eye Foods.

Authorities say 140 people were working overnight at the factory when alarms and sensors started going off.

Ammonia is used at the facility for the freezing and cooling of food. Seventy-five workers were checked at the scene and released.

The company has paid more than $200,000 in workplace safety violations since 2014, most of which the federal government has labeled serious.

OSHA was last at the plant in January 2018, noting five violations. Four were considered serious, one a repeat offense for not having practices to prevent employees from getting hurt while fixing equipment.

In 2016, the company was cited for the same issue.

In 2014, the plant received fifteen citations, totaling more than $100,000 in fines including:

  • Not teaching employees the hazards of chemicals at work;
  • Violating a regulation prohibiting open flames and smoking in places where flammable liquids are stored; and
  • A lack of ventilation and not providing protective equipment from hazardous materials, among others.

New Jersey-based Pinnacle Foods owns Birds Eye.