$110K Fine proposed against Kraft Foods for Clean Air violations

BOSTON - A fine of more than $100,000 may be levied under an EPA complaint against the international company Kraft Foods for Clean Air Act violations at the company's Woburn processing plant.

The EPA complaint seeks a penalty of $112,200 for violations that include a leak of ozone depleting substances into the atmosphere.

The complaint, issued by EPA's New England regional office, asserts that Kraft Foods Global failed to adequately repair a leak of ozone-depleting substances from an industrial process refrigeration unit and failed to conduct leak repair tests or keep required service records for repairs of some units, all in violation of the federal Clean Air Act.

Certain types of refrigerants have been known to destroy the thin layer of ozone in the upper part of the atmosphere known as the stratosphere. Most of these refrigerants are being phased out and replaced with safer alternatives.

The stratospheric ozone layer protects humans from being exposed to the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays.

Federal stratospheric ozone protection regulations were established to limit the emissions of substances that destroy the ozone layer. These regulations provide strict rules governing the service, maintenance, repair and disposal of ozone-depleting substances.

"The ozone layer provides important protection to all of us from the sun's harmful rays," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA's New England office. "It's important that companies and individuals who work with ozone-depleting substances follow appropriate steps to ensure the materials are not released into the atmosphere. This helps keep the ozone layer intact."

Kraft, a multinational corporation, has food processing facilities located in nearly every state.

In 2004, Kraft took part in an EPA initiative to eliminate the use of ozone-depleting refrigerants at nine U.S. bakeries and converted more than 60 refrigeration systems containing ozone depleting substances to operate with safer alternatives.

The Woburn complaint stemmed from an EPA inspection in October 2004 following a leak in 2003 which released 125 pounds of refrigerant.

More information on EPA New England's Air Enforcement Program:

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