For release on: November 27, 2012
Yen B. Dang, Deputy District Attorney
Consumer Protection Unit
KFC PAYS $294,000 FOR SMOKING OVENS, SAFETY VIOLATIONS
Settling a lawsuit, the corporate parents of Kentucky Fried Chicken recently paid $294,000 for a variety of health and safety violations, including improperly installing ovens which billowed smoke inside kitchens while cooking chicken.
Filed by District Attorneys of Los Angeles, Napa, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, the lawsuit alleged that Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC Corporation) and Harman Management Corporation failed to follow proper procedures for installing new cooking equipment. Investigators also found plumbing and electrical issues at some franchises.
District Attorney Jeff Rosen acknowledged Santa Clara County’s and other counties’ Environmental Health officials for their vigilant enforcement efforts. Rosen said, “The Retail Food Code is in place to protect not only the health and safety of consumers, but also of the employees of food facilities. KFC workers deserve to work in a healthy environment."
In 2009, the company and its franchisees rolled out its “grilled chicken” line, with some facilities in NorthernCalifornia experiencing unsafe smoke ventilation issues with their new Blodgett ovens. The District Attorneys alleged that KFC Corporation and Harman Management Corporation 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 County quickly fixed the problems. KFC and Harman Management Corp.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 lawsuit. 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. The civil penalties will be divided equally between the four District Attorney offices and will be dedicated to further consumer protection actions.