Kerry Inc. pays $11,350 for air quality violations at Rochester plant

Contact: Ralph Pribble, 651-757-2657

Kerry Inc., a maker of food ingredients and flavors, paid an $11,350 civil penalty to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) for a series of air-quality violations at its facility in Rochester. 

The facility operates under an MPCA-issued permit that regulates air emissions of pollutants. The primary emissions are particulate matter from drying food ingredients and packaging the dried ingredients. Wet scrubbers are used to control emissions from the dryers, and fabric filters are used to control emissions from material handling. The facility also has emissions from natural gas combustion from the dryers, boilers, and space heaters.

An MPCA inspection in August 2019 found that the facility

  • Hadn’t been operating its pollution control equipment properly
  • Wasn’t keeping proper records of the performance of that equipment
  • Failed to notify the MPCA that it was installing new equipment as required by the permit.

In addition to paying the civil penalty, the company has completed a series of corrective actions to prevent further emissions violations, including:

  • Submitting a plan for ensuring the operation of all control equipment when process equipment is operating
  • Recording natural gas usage and submitting the records to MPCA, as required by the permit
  • Submitting a plan for ensuring control equipment is operated in accordance with the company’s air emissions permit

MPCA permits are designed to protect human health and the environment by limiting pollution emissions and discharges from facilities. When companies do not fully comply with permit requirements, the resulting pollution can be harmful to people and the environment.

When calculating penalties, the MPCA takes into account how seriously the violations affected the environment, whether they were first-time or repeat violations, and how promptly the violations were reported to authorities. The agency also attempts to recover the economic benefit the company gained by failing to comply with environmental laws in a timely manner.