From pickles to poultry

by MEAT+POULTRY Staff
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GEORGETOWN, Del. – A Superior Court judge cleared one obstacle blocking Allen Harim Foods LLC’s plans to convert a former pickle plant into a chicken processing facility in Millsboro, Del., according to local news reports. Residents who oppose the poultry plant filed a lawsuit challenging the Sussex County Board of Adjustment’s approval of the project.

In the lawsuit, the residents argued that the board failed to get input from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Center for the Inland Bays. But in his July 2 ruling, Superior Court Judge Richard Stokes said, in part, that the board was not required to get input from those agencies. He also wrote that fears of potential pollution did not entitle the plaintiff’s to a reversal of the board’s decision.

Allen Harim plans to buy the plant from Pinnacle Foods Inc., Parsippany, NJ. The company intends to remodel the former Vlasic pickle plant into a poultry-processing plant at a cost of $100 million. But some local residents opposed the plan on pollution concerns. Residents complained that the vacant pickle plant left behind high levels of chromium, chloride, nitrates and carcinogens. Additionally, the state water authority found high concentrations of trichlorethylene (an industrial solvent) in groundwater as a result of a chicken vaccine manufacturing business operating in the town.

But the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control approved Allen Harim’s plans to clean up the site. In June 2014, the Delaware Environmental Appeals Board denied the residents’ challenge to DNREC’s approval of Allen Harim’s remediation plans. A lawsuit was filed challenging DNREC’s decision. That case is still pending.
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