Do not Get In A Pickle – Meals And Beverage Corporations Want To Keep Conscious Of Environmental Regulation – Setting
You may not know, but the makers of many of America’s most popular foods (beer, bread, coffee, jerky, salsa, salad dressing, etc.) are subject to a variety of environmental regulations for food and beverage companies. In addition to targeting food and beverage manufacturers, environmental regulators such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state and local environmental protection agencies can bring those companies right to federal courts under some of the United States’ major environmental laws. Careful compliance with environmental regulations is good for the bottom line of food and beverage companies – environmental enforcement can cost thousands of dollars, if not millions – and their reputation under the watchful eye of social media.
Food and beverage manufacturers and processors are subject to a variety of factors; there is no cookie-cutter approach to determining which regulations apply. Factors such as the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code, the size of the plant, the amount of pollutants emitted, the products used in the operation or the quality of the specific environmental media that are affected, to name just a few, must be carefully considered.
For day-to-day operations, the most common laws / regulations for food and beverage manufacturers apply to rainwater, sewage and air. Rainwater is often overlooked because its regulation is based on an industry-specific system of inclusion that ignores much of a company’s actual business operations. Site-specific considerations usually only come into play when a company wishes to opt out of the permit program through a conditional exclusion on the basis of “no exposure”. SIC code 20, which applies generally to food and related products, draws food and beverage companies into the regulatory system for rainwater. Unless a facility can demonstrate that there is no contact between industrial operations (which includes loading and receiving, administrative and office facilities only) and rainwater, food and beverage manufacturers must obtain permit coverage when they bring rainwater into a state body of water (such as Rivers, lakes or certain wetlands) either directly or indirectly via a municipal rainwater pumping system.
Water directed down the drain to a municipal treatment system must adhere to an industrial pre-treatment program. This requires a permit and that the operators examine and manage wastewater for a variety of foods that are actually pollutants, such as flour, sugar or yeast.
Controlled air outlets can come from multiple sources in a facility, either from the facility or from the equipment. On the operational side, yeast metabolism in baking, coffee roasting, alcohol production, and food and grain storage can produce fine dust, volatile organic compounds, certain toxic compounds, odors, smoke and ethanol, one of the main components of smog. Controlled equipment includes mixers, boilers, dryers, and generators.
Toxic air pollutants are getting more and more attention as many states (including California, Washington, and Oregon) now regulate heavy metals, chemicals, and pollutants that are potentially harmful to people who live or work near industrial and commercial sites.
Hazardous waste management and disposal, use and disposal of pesticides, large-scale storage of oil (including edible oil), and the use and presence of above-ground or underground fuel storage tanks could also play a role. With the increasing focus on climate change, greenhouse gas emissions, ozone-depleting substances in refrigerants and regulations on carbon are also receiving more and more regulatory attention.
Failure to comply with environmental regulations creates significant costs. Enforcement action can be taken by all levels of government, including local water companies. The measures taken can include warnings, instructions for the implementation or discontinuation of certain measures, requirements for the construction, implementation or improvement of treatment facilities and of course fines.
One of the most notable examples of enforcement is the 2016 US Environmental Protection Agency action against Pennsylvania beer maker DG Yeungling and Son Inc. for failing to comply with its industrial pre-treatment program. In addition to a $ 2.8 million fine, the agency ordered the beer maker to make improvements to its breweries’ processing systems at an estimated cost of $ 7 million.
One of the best ways to find out if your business and facilities are environmental is by conducting an environmental audit. Audits can be carried out with internal employees or, even better, with an external environmental consultancy. In any event, the company should ensure that its audit is conducted in accordance with the federal and state audit privilege (if available). Audits can be carried out before the acquisition of a company or new property or at any time after the start of operations. Pre-purchase due diligence audits are worth every penny as new environmental permits often come at a high price.
The manufacturing industry is subject to a complex system of environmental laws – even if it’s hoppy India Pale Ale, dark French roast coffee, crispy dill pickles or your daughter’s favorite brownies. Those in the food and beverage industry would do well to keep this in mind – it could save themselves the bitter taste of wasting time and money.
The content of this article is intended to provide general guidance on the subject. Expert advice should be sought regarding your specific circumstances.