State regulators have cited Mountaire Farms with nearly two dozen workplace safety violations, six months after one worker was killed and three others injured after an ammonia leak at its Lumber bridge, N.C., plant. The proposed fines total $73,325, reports theCharlotte Observer, and include citations for not ensuring that plant workers were properly fitted for respirators that were cleaned and disinfected.

"We take any safety recommendation or violation seriously and are in the early stages of reviewing the response by North Carolina OSHA," the company said in a statement. "The company cooperated fully with authorities throughout the investigation and will work in close contact with North Carolina OSHA as additional safety measures are evaluated, recommended and implemented accordingly."

Ammonia gas began spewing from a ruptured base on June 20 at the plant, which employs 2,500 workers. Four workers were hospitalized, and Clifton Swain, 47, died. He had been an employee at the facility since 2001.

Source: Charlotte Observer

Oklahoma trial update: Judge says waste law doesn't apply to poultry litter

U.S. District Judge Gregory Frizzell ruled in favor of the poultry companies in their trial against the state of Oklahoma by throwing out the state's claim that poultry litter is solid waste as defined by federal statute.

The Tulsa World reports that the ruling strikes a blow against one of the centerpieces of the state's case against the 11 poultry companies. “It's been two good days for the polluters and two bad days for the watershed,” said Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson. He said his office would appeal that decision.

In his ruling, Frizzell said that the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act standard addresses material that is discarded, thrown away or abandoned. He said it was not accurate to say that the poultry litter was being thrown away. He also ruled that the state had established its right to enforce trespassing laws on the Illinois River watershed. That means that the state's case will remains alive if it can convince the judge that the poultry industry is at fault for increased amounts of phosphorus that allegedly causes harm to the Illinois River watershed and its waterways, the World reports.

The state rested its case on Monday, and the poultry companies may begin presenting their case this week.

Source: Tulsa World

Miller Poultry, local stores donate drumsticks to Michigan food pantries

Five northern Michigan food pantries received 8,000 pounds of frozen chicken drumsticks, courtesy of Miller Poultry, Tom's Food markets and Oleson's Food Stores.

"Making our chicken available to those struggling through tough times this holiday is a true gift to our company," said Len Neeb, a representative of the poultry business located in northern Indiana that supplied the local food markets with donations expected to provide some 16,000 meals. The Grand Traverse Herald reports that the company also donated a total of 20,000 pounds of drumsticks to food banks in Grandville, Muskegon and Fenton through Spartan Foods distributors.

Source: Grand Traverse Herald

NCFST launches new Web site

The National Center for Food Safety and Technology (NCFST), Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), launched its redesigned Web site, which features improved features and functionality for consortium members, staff and the general public. The new URL for the site

The NCFST website was relaunched as part of the university’s Banner Project, the multi-year conversion of IIT websites to a new content management system. The new site has several new features, including full staff directories for NCFST/IIT and the US Food and Drug Administration Division of Food Processing Science and Technology, links to industry and government partners, and a media room.

“The updated Web site really reflects NCFST’s growth as a world-class food research institute,” said Martin Cole, PhD, NCFST Director. “I encourage all stakeholders to bookmark the new URL and visit often to take advantage of upcoming additions to the site.”

Additional features such as members-only pages and a photo gallery will be available in January 2010, followed by user-friendly packaging integrity and C. botulinum databases.

Source: NCFST