Trader Joe’s Settles Clean Air Act Violations

It’s impossible to imagine that anyone could ever dislike Trader Joe’s.   After all, it is the go-to source for such pantry necessities as cookie butter.  But the US Environmental Protection Agency was less than impressed with the company’s failure to (a) repair leaks of the ozone-depleting coolant R-22, which the company’s stores use to keep your food cool, (b) maintain servicing records of its refrigeration equipment, and (c) provide compliance records.   In a settlement with EPA, Trader Joe’s has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $500,000 and spend $2 million over the next three years to reduce coolant leaks from refrigerators and other equipment as well as improve company-wide compliance.

Trader Joe’s will implement a comprehensive compliance system, including a quarterly leak monitoring program, and the use of non-ozone depleting refrigerants at new and remodeled stores.
Cynthia Giles, the Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, praised the settlement.  “The company-wide upgrades Trader Joe’s will make are not only good for the environment, they set a high bar for the grocery industry for detecting and fixing coolant leaks.”

This settlement is one of several in a series of national grocery store refrigerant cases, including matters against Safeway and Costco.  EPA regulations require owners and operators of commercial refrigeration equipment that contains over 50 pounds of ozone-depleting refrigerants to repair any leaks within 30 days.

Rita Bolt Barker

Rita Bolt Barker

Rita Bolt Barker is an experienced litigator and counselor, focusing primarily on environmental, commercial litigation, and insurance coverage matters.
RELATED ARTICLES

Stay in Touch

Join one our mailing lists and receive regular updates!

Contact Us