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Quail meat processor hit with almost $100,000 of proposed fines

By Joe Whitworth , 20-Jul-2012

Quail International was cited for 23 violations totalling more than US$92,000 (€75,000) by the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Quail International processes and distributes quail meat from its Greensboro, Georgia facility and the firm’s website said the facility controls all aspects of the process, from egg production to the final packed product.

It adds: “HACCP guidelines, are followed throughout all processes of our quail production, as required by the United States Department of Agriculture.”

Based on complaint

The inspection was initiated in January this year based on a complaint and fines totalled $92,115.

Citations with $68,715 in penalties have been issued for 16 serious safety violations, including exposing workers to "struck-by" and electrical hazards as well as failing to protect workers from hand injuries.

Other penalties included failure to determine whether personal protective equipment such as eye protection is needed in the de-boning room, create specific steps to ensure that processing equipment will not accidentally start up while being cleaned, monthly inspect or annually maintain portable fire extinguishers and make exits in the de-boning room operable.

The firm was issued with $23,400 in penalties for four serious health violations, including an unsanitary restroom, exposing workers to noise levels that exceed OSHA standards, and failing to provide hearing protection and annual audiograms for workers exposed to excessive noise.

Citations were also for three other-than-serious safety violations, resulting in no fines, including using a flexible electrical cord as permanent wiring, stringing electrical wiring through holes in the ceiling and improperly splicing a flexible electrical cord with duct tape in the shipping department.

OSHA stance

"Employees have a right to expect a safe and healthy working environment, and OSHA will not allow employers to fail in their duty to protect workers," said William Fulcher, director of OSHA's Atlanta-East Area Office.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply with the proposed penalties request a meeting with OSHA officials or contest the fines.

Quail International did not respond to FoodProductionDaily.com’s request for comment before deadline.

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