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OSHA investigating bleach leak at Gold Creek Foods facility

By Nick Watson The Times Photo by David B. Strickland OSHA is investigating a March 11 bleach spill at Gold Creek Foods in Gainesville, Ga.

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GAINESVILLE, Ga. — The Occupational Health and Safety Administration said it is investigating a March 11 bleach leak at Gold Creek Foods in Gainesville, Ga.

An OSHA spokesman confirmed to The Times on March 23, that the investigation has been initiated but declined to share any further details.

Gold Creek Foods said it is cooperating with the investigation.

The company said about 11 a.m. March 11 an employee at the Memorial Park Drive plant noticed a leaking package being delivered.

The package had 275 gallons of a liquid bleach used for sanitation.

Gold Creek said it evacuated team members out of an abundance of caution, and four employees close to the leak reported mild eye irritation.

The company said all four employees were evaluated on site and released.

“Gold Creek has followed up with these employees since the incident and no further problems or complaints have been reported,” the company said in a statement to The Times. “The incident did not meet any OSHA or environmental reporting requirements.”

Gold Creek said the bleach container was damaged by a piece of metal on the truck delivering it, adding that employees tried to reject the package “upon delivery but were refused.”

“Gold Creek Foods received a signed statement from the courier service stating that its dispatch did not allow rejection of the damaged package,” the company said. “By the time team members were able to move the package and stop the leak, approximately 100 gallons had leaked into the contained drainage system at a concentration of just 12 percent.”

Gold Creek resumed normal operations two hours after the leak was discovered.

Though this is the first incident under Gold Creek’s ownership, the Memorial Park Drive plant has had three leaks in the past 14 months.

In January 2021, six people were killed and a total of 12 people were taken to the hospital after a liquid nitrogen leak at what was then a Foundation Food Group plant. Two months later, authorities responded to a report of an ammonia leak.

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