Food packer ordered to spend $6m to improve safety

San Francisco, CA, US: The US Environmental Protection Agency ordered Columbus Manufacturing to pay $700,000 in penalties requires the company to spend up to $6m to update its refrigeration system.

The violations are the result of two accidental anhydrous ammonia leaks that occurred at the San Francisco plant in 2009.  The leaks were the result of damages to the facility’s refrigeration system.  17 people were taken to the hospital in the aftermath.

The agency said: “Columbus has had several violations of various environmental statutes both in connection to the anhydrous ammonia releases as well as for deficiencies in how it managed the integrity and safety of its ammonia refrigeration systems at both its South San Francisco and Hayward facilities.”

Columbus will upgrade its refrigeration systems to a hybrid system that is reportedly safer technology.

The company was found to have “deficiencies in how it managed the integrity and safety of its ammonia refrigeration systems”.

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