DENVER, Colo. – Smithfield Foods’ John Morrell & Company has agreed to pay a $206,000 penalty and improve the maintenance of process equipment at its Sioux Falls, SD, meat packing facility to resolve alleged Clean Air Act violations, the US Environmental Protection Agency announced on Oct. 12.

The processor’s facility in Sioux Falls is subject to risk-management regulations because it uses large quantities of anhydrous ammonia. Under the Clean Air Act, facilities that handle hazardous chemicals must develop a risk management program and submit a plan to assist with emergency preparedness, prevent chemical releases, and minimize any releases that do occur. EPA inspectors claimed they found the facility had not adequately implemented these regulations.

EPA relayed John Morrell has had several releases of anhydrous ammonia at the Sioux Falls facility in the past, including one in 2004, which resulted in a penalty from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

"John Morrell & Company has reached a non-compliance settlement with the US government regarding a refrigeration system audit conducted last year at its Sioux Falls processing facility," a company spokesman told "The company is working with regulators to resolve the audit findings and significant capital investments have been under way for several months to modernize the refrigeration system. The work is expeced to be completed by next year.

"John Morrell's Sioux Falls facility has a long-standing commitment to environmental protection and it is committed to continue to operate a safe refrigeration system," he concluded.