Kraft Chemical Accident Forces 1,400 From Homes in Germany

by | Oct 18, 2012

A chemical accident and resulting fire at a factory operated by Kraft Foods in Germany forced around 1,400 people from their homes on Monday, reports the Agence France-Presse.

The blaze, in Bad Fallingbostel in northern Germany, occurred on Monday after employees mistakenly poured nitric acid into a container of sodium hydroxide solution, causing a chemical reaction, the AFP reports. Production was halted as soon as the accident occurred.

A toxic cloud created by the fire, along with fears that the tank would explode, led to the mass evacuation. Local schools and a nearby highway were closed, reports Business Insider. Some 700 firefighters were called in to control the blaze and lower the tank’s temperature, the AFP said.

“There has at no time been any danger for the population because we decided, along with the authorities, to evacuate as a precautionary measure,” a company spokesperson told news channel N24.

Residents were allowed to return to their homes on Tuesday, after emergency services successfully emptied the 6,340-gallon tank, according to the Associated Press.

Last April, Kraft announced that it had cut 45 million pounds of weight from the packaging of its products since 2010. Last year company also increased its amount of “sustainable” agricultural commodities – those with third-party certification or verification – by 36 percent, and eliminated 12.5 million travel miles from its operations, according to an update on the company’s progress towards its sustainability goals

In July, Kraft announced plans to eliminate gestation crates from brand Oscar Mayer’s pork supply chain by 2022. The Humane Society of the United States described the new policy’s phase-in period as “lengthy,” but said that it applauds Kraft Foods’ decision to help improve conditions for its pigs.

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