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Egg processing company cited for safety violations

BURLINGTON, Wis (WSAU-Wheeler News)  The egg processing company that lost most of its Burlington plant in a January fire has been fined $150,000 for unrelated federal safety violations. Echo Lake Foods was fined by the Occupational Safety-and-Health Administration for not properly training employees on the hazards of ammonia. The ammonia is used in refrigeration systems in Echo Lake’s factories in Burlington and Franksville.

The fines were based on government inspections just days before the January 30th fire that destroyed three-fourths of Echo Lake’s Burlington plant, causing $40-million in damage. The inspections turned up 27 safety management violations at the two Racine County plants. Both the company and OSHA say the violations are not related to the fire or its aftermath.

Echo Lake general manager Jerry Warntjes says the company may appeal the fine – and if nothing else, they’ll meet with OSHA in an effort to get the penalty reduced. The Burlington plant used to process two-million eggs a day with 300 workers. About 100 people work for the company today.