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Poultry firm sues supplier

OK Foods says dry-ice firm tainted 150 tons of chicken by Nathan Owens | February 26, 2019 at 1:49 a.m.

OK Foods Inc. of Fort Smith has sued its dry ice supplier, claiming one of its products contaminated more than 300,000 pounds of poultry.

A federal lawsuit alleging a breach of contract and failure to deliver conforming goods came months after a customer in September found traces of material resembling "dark or black plastic" on processed chicken from OK Foods, according to court documents filed in Fort Smith.

After notifying suppliers and food inspectors and taking stock of the contamination, the chicken processor said in the lawsuit that the foreign material came from a "defective" wear band on products it bought from Continental Carbonic Products Inc., a manufacturer of dry ice and liquid carbon dioxide.

OK Foods alleged the dry ice supplier as the "sole source" of the contamination based, in part, from the supplier's "admission that its Product contains or is accompanied by a wear band, and that a defective or deteriorated wear band(s) material was the source of the foreign material on and inside [OK's] food products."

As a result of the foreign materials found in the chicken, OK Foods "condemned" a total of 303,251 pounds of suspect poultry and took losses of no less than $516,740.33, according to court documents. Despite multiple requests for reimbursement, Continental has refused to do so.

Continental Carbonic of Illinois has 40 U.S. locations, with a production site in Fort Smith, about seven miles south of the corporate offices of OK Foods.

Joel Cape of Cape Law firm in Fayetteville said this kind of claim is routine and falls in line with litigation that stems from food recalls.

Court records show Continental Carbonic also knew of prior occurrences related to wear band failure with other customers and "did not disclose this information" before the reported incident in September or when they entered a business agreement in April. A copy of the one-year contract between Continental and OK Foods is attached to the complaint. Agreement costs and fees were redacted.

Dry ice pellets kept in large storage bins are used in the meat processing industry to cool meat after slaughter and for shipping, according to Continental Carbonic's website.

Attorney J.R. Carroll of Kutak Rock LLP filed the complaint on behalf of OK Foods Inc. in federal court in Fort Smith on Feb. 15. Messages left for him Monday were not returned. A spokesman with Continental did not provide a statement on Monday.

The case number for O.K. Foods Inc. v Continental Carbonic Products, Inc. is 2:19-cv-02031.

Business on 02/26/2019

Print Headline: Poultry firm sues supplier

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