By Aaron Blevins, 11/29/2012
Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC Corp.) and Harman Management Corp. have agreed to pay a $200,000 penalty for a variety of health and safety violations, including improperly installing ovens which billowed smoke while cooking chicken.
Filed by environmental crimes prosecutors for the district attorneys of Los Angeles, Napa, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, the lawsuit alleged that KFC Kentucky Fried Chicken and Harman Management Corp. failed to follow proper procedures for installing new cooking equipment. Investigators also found plumbing and electrical issues at some franchises.
In 2009, the company and its franchisees rolled out its “grilled chicken” line, with some facilities in northern California experiencing unsafe smoke ventilation issues with their new Blodgett ovens. The District Attorneys alleged that KFC and Harman violated provisions of the California Retail Food Code when they did not properly advise or supervise their franchisees in complying with the requirements for submitting plans and obtaining prior approval from local environmental health authorities.
Local franchises in Santa Clara quickly fixed the problems. KFC and Harman cooperated with prosecutors during the investigation.
KFC and Harman agreed to pay $200,000 in civil penalties and $94,000 in costs to settle the complaints. The companies have also agreed to an injunction that prohibits them from violating California Health & Safety Code sections in the future, and will provide specific notice to their franchisees of California’s environmental health requirements.