The next day, the company went to court to argue that the warrant was illegal.
Government lawyers have defended the warrant and say OSHA should be allowed to proceed with its inspection because, if a judge agrees with the company’s argument later, the evidence gathered will be tossed out.
Still, the preemptive attack on the warrant is “part of a recent trend of employers filing such motions, hoping to stop OSHA in its tracks before an administrative hearing even begins,” the agency’s lawyers argued in Monday’s filing. “The public interest lies in favor of OSHA being able to promptly inspect and remedy any violations.”
Foundation Food Group was formed on Jan. 1 after a merger between Prime Pak Foods and Victory Processing, according to state business records. On Wednesday, the company issued a statement saying, “We are currently in litigation against OSHA and do not comment about issues arising in litigation.”
The Gainesville plant has bumped up against OSHA before. The owners agreed to payments of more than $40,000 in 2017 for two separate incidents, both involving employees losing fingers, according to OSHA records. In 2019, the facility paid $3,750 for violations. In March, federal officials investigated an ammonia leak at the plant.