House of Raeford asserts commitment to environmental regs

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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ROSE HILL, NC – House of Raeford Farms re-affirmed the company's commitment to complying with federal, state and local regulations following sentencing for 10 counts of violating the Clean Water Act.

A federal judge ordered the company to pay a fine of $150,000 and a special assessment of $4,000. House of Raeford also received two years of probation. According to a statement, the company had anticipated the fines, adding that "At no time was wastewater released directly into the local environment, nor was there any allegation of harm to the environment."

Federal officials charged that House of Raeford allowed employees at the company's slaughter and processing facility in Raeford, NC, to bypass the facility's pretreatment system and send untreated wastewater directly into the city of Raeford's wastewater treatment plant without notifying city officials. The Department of Justice said the city's wastewater treatment plant did not have the capacity to adequately treat the wastewater.

In addition to the federal penalties, House of Raeford and the City of Raeford reached an agreement that included paying fines as well as a $1.4 million retrofit of the company’s wastewater treatment system. Additionally, the company has a corporate environmental officer who oversees a comprehensive Environmental Compliance Plan to ensure that all company facilities are in compliance with regulations.

"Under the Environmental Compliance Plan, all employees receive environmental training on an annual basis," the company said. "The company has also instituted a “hotline” designed to provide employees and others a confidential channel to report any environmental concerns to a third-party provider who documents the reports and tracks the resulting investigation and corrective actions.

"Further, the company has retained an independent monitor/auditor whose duties will include review of environmental compliance activities, operation of the “hotline,” and periodic detailed audits of individual facilities to confirm environmental compliance."

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