The Gainesville, GA poultry processing plant where a liquid nitrogen leak yesterday resulted in the death of six people and the injury of a dozen more has a history of safety violations. Operating as Prime Pak Foods until last year when it merged with Victory Processing Inc. to form Foundation Food Group, the company was cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) with 26 safety violations between 2015 and 2019, according to a review of online records. On two occasions in 2017 these violations were associated with injuries that resulted in amputations.

In April 2017, an employee’s hand was mangled by an auger and four of the fingers on his right hand had to be amputated. In July 2017, an employee clearing a jam in the cuber suffered the partial amputation of the ring and pinkie fingers of his left hand. Amputation risk was noted on inspection reports in 2015 and 2020 but details were not provided.

Yesterday morning a liquid nitrogen line ruptured killing five employees and injuring a dozen more. One of the injured died yesterday after being transported to Northeast Georgia Medical Center. Four people remain hospitalized, three of them are in critical condition with respiratory injuries.

Today, the Hall County Sheriff’s office released the names of the six employees, five men and one woman, who died.

  • Jose DeJesus Elias-Cabrera, 45, of Gainesville
  • Corey Alan Murphy, 35, of Clermont
  • Nelly Perez-Rafael, 28, of Gainesville
  • Saulo Suarez-Bernal, 41, of Dawsonville
  • Victor Vellez , 38, of Gainesville
  • Edgar Vera-Garcia, 28, of Gainesville

Foundation Food Group produces poultry products, some of which are quick-frozen, for foodservice and retail clients. Investigators are still trying to determine what caused the liquid nitrogen line to rupture.

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