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EPA settles with Jerome Cheese for chemical risk management violations at Jerome, Idaho plant

Release Date: 10/17/2014
Contact Information: Mark MacIntyre, EPA Public Affairs, 206-553-7302,

(Seattle, WA – October 16, 2014) Jerome Cheese, a division of Minnesota-based Davisco Foods International, Inc., has reached a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for failing to comply of federal Clean Air Act Risk Management Plan regulations aimed at preventing chemical accidents. The violations occurred at the Jerome Cheese (“The Company”) manufacturing facility in Jerome, Idaho. The settlement includes a monetary penalty of $88,000.

According to the terms of the settlement, EPA alleges that the Company had numerous violations of the Risk Management Plan planning requirements, including: 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. The Company, while agreeing to this settlement, neither admits nor denies these allegations.

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

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 under this section of the Clean Air Act since it annually uses more than 10,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia, a colorless gas commonly used in industrial refrigeration systems. The Company has since corrected these violations.

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. Prolonged exposure to anhydrous ammonia vapor at high concentrations can lead to serious lung damage and even death.

For more information on the Risk Management Program, visit: