August 6, 2007

Failure to report spill costs Maple Leaf Foods $20K

HAMILTON, ONT-Maple Leaf Foods was fined $20,000 and levied a victim fine surcharge for failing to notify the Ontario Ministry of Environment (MOE) about a spill of fish byproduct. Through its Rothsay division, Maple Leaf Foods collects and transports meat processing by-products to its Rothsay Dundas facility on Highway 5 near Greenville in Flamborough Township. On July 21, 2005, a Rothsay truck was transporting 18 tonnes of fish processing byproduct from Wheatley, Ontario to Rothsay Dundas. As the truck was negotiating an exit ramp, some of the material spilled onto the roadway. The driver noticed the spill and alerted Rothsay Dundas, which dispatched a cleanup crew to the site. Meanwhile, after a motorist reported the spill to the MOE, a provincial officer spoke with the transportation manager of Rothsay Dundas the following day. The manager told the MOE officer that 700 kilograms of fish offal had spilled onto the roadway and that cleanup actions had been taken. He said Rothsay did not believe the spill had caused an adverse effect due to the quantity of byproduct involved. The company was charged, however, following an investigation by the Ministry's investigations and enforcement branch. Maple Leaf Foods pleaded guilty to failing to notify the Ministry of the spill and the action that was taken or intended to be taken with respect to the spill, contrary to section 92 (1) of the Environmental Protection Act.

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