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Foundation Food Group resumes operations as investigators continue probing fatal January nitrogen leak
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Foundation Food Group employees stand at a loading dock Wednesday, March 3, 2021, as the plant has reportedly resumed operations almost a month since the deadly nitrogen leak. - photo by Scott Rogers

Foundation Food Group has resumed operations at its Gainesville plant as investigators continue their work on the deadly Jan. 28 nitrogen leak.

Six people were killed and 12 total people were hospitalized following the leak at the Memorial Park Drive poultry processing plant.

The company said operations resumed Feb. 24.

“We continue to make every resource available to regulatory authorities relative to the ongoing investigation and remain dedicated to ensuring a safe workplace for all employees,” the company said in a statement. “The production line where the (Jan. 28) incident occurred will remain shut down and locked out for the foreseeable future.”

In a month since the incident, seven lawsuits were filed in Gwinnett County State Court against the chemical company who installed the liquid nitrogen system. Six of these cases are wrongful death lawsuits and the last is a personal injury case with at least 20 plaintiffs.

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A Foundation Food Group employee looks into a waste container Wednesday, March 3, 2021, at the Memorial Drive plant. Foundation Food Group has reportedly resumed operations at the plant almost a month since the deadly nitrogen leak. - photo by Scott Rogers

“As the community continues to heal, Foundation Food Group extends their continued sympathies and prayers to the families and friends of those lost,” Foundation Food Group said in a statement. “We would like to express gratitude for the support we have received from our dedicated customers, industry suppliers, community and industry relief organizations and especially, from our valued team members who partner with us to produce the best quality products every single day.”

The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board said Wednesday, March 3, that its investigators are returning to the site this week to “continue their work which includes interviews and site documentation.”

The board did not provide any further information, but a spokeswoman said more information could be coming early next week.

The Times also reached out to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration concerning its investigation. Spokesman Eric Lucero wrote in an email that there were no updates at this time and that the investigation is still open.

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