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Lodi bakery faces fine over air pollution accusation

EPA investigation claims Cottage Bakery was releasing chemical vapors into the air; new machinery will prevent future fumes

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Posted: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 7:16 am, Wed Jun 27, 2012.

A Lodi bakery has agreed to pay $1.3 million in fines and new equipment after an investigation discovered that the business was releasing harmful chemical vapors into the air.

According to a press release from the Environmental Protection Agency, Ralcorp's Cottage Bakery, located on South Stockton Street, has been ordered to pay a penalty of $625,000 after a nearly three-year investigation revealed the business failed to apply for air pollution permits to install and operate the facility's ovens and other air pollution controls that minimize the release of volatile organic compounds, including ethanol.

Ethanol is generated during the leavening stage of bread manufacturing and is later released during baking. Cottage Bakery's production facility includes three bread ovens installed at various times between 1997 and 2006, the press release stated.

The EPA considers volatile organic compounds to be a precursor to ozone pollution.

Ralcorp also agreed to pay $750,000 to install and operate machinery that is meant to reduce VOCs by 95 percent. That machinery is now in use.

A spokesman from Ralcorp was not immediately available for comment.

The agency's investigation of the bread and cake baking facility included an inspection on July 27, 2009 that revealed that the facility had never applied for air pollution permits to install and operate its ovens, nor had it installed air pollution controls, the press release stated.

Cottage Bakery employs about 625 people. The facility produces frozen bread and cake products that are used by retail bakeries and the food service industry throughout the U.S. and Canada.

According to the agency's press release, the San Joaquin Valley has some of the poorest air quality in the nation.

Now that the air pollution controls have been installed, however, the business is taking a step towards helping improve air quality both in Lodi and throughout the county.

"Every bit of pollution can contribute to the overall air quality," said EPA spokesperson Michael Ardito. "We all have to be very aware and try to deter any air pollution that we can."

Contact reporter Katie Nelson at katien@lodinews.com.

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  • Kim Parigoris posted at 10:05 am on Mon, Jul 2, 2012.

    Kim Parigoris Posts: 469

    They won't be safe in Texas..EPA is everywhere, hammering down on United States businesses.. Just go to EPA's website- they have a Bragging Wall where they post all their conquests, much like the California Air Resources Board. The Sierra Club filed a suit against a Wisconsin diary and had the EPA go in and fine. The EPA needs to be defunded. Another nice idea that formed another government agancy that has taken on a life of itw own and has grown in to a monster

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 3:31 pm on Fri, Jun 29, 2012.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9403

    Kim stated...And, companies that are smart see that, they don’t want to play that game, and they decide at that point that it’s time to clean up""

    or.............move to Texas, China, India or Singapore.

  • Mary Sibert posted at 2:52 pm on Thu, Jun 28, 2012.

    summerset Posts: 1

    How many years of investigation does it take for the EPA to figure out the pollution content? Hmmmm... that is quite a bit of continued pollution going into the air while they sit back and decide whether to wait another year before bringing Cottage Bakery up on charges. [sad]

  • Kim Parigoris posted at 1:57 pm on Wed, Jun 27, 2012.

    Kim Parigoris Posts: 469

    EPA is a rogue agency..Here is a quote in 2010 by a former EPA official- This is the mindset of the EPA..
    "I was in a meeting once and I gave an analogy to my staff…the Romans used to conquer little villages in the Mediterranean. They’d go into a little Turkish town somewhere, they’d find the first five guys they saw and they would crucify them. And then you know that town was really easy to manage for the next few years.
    And so you make examples out of people who are in this case not compliant with the law. Find people who are not compliant with the law, and you hit them as hard as you can and you make examples out of them, and there is a deterrent effect there.
    And, companies that are smart see that, they don’t want to play that game, and they decide at that point that it’s time to clean up""

  • Tom Gillilan posted at 1:23 am on Wed, Jun 27, 2012.

    TomGillilan Posts: 1


    VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUNDS EVERYWHERE and carbon monoxide and methane and more.


    Every day. Non filtered. Unlimited.



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