Last reviewed 26 November 2021

International Flavours & Fragrances (Great Britain) Ltd (IFF) has been prosecuted after around 93 litres of an undiluted cleaning solution spilled into a brook after serious errors at its Haverhill plant.

Investigating Environment Agency officers found the company had failed to take reasonable care of its operations.

The pollution incident in October 2017 involving a cleaning agent known as Quadet is used as a disinfectant in the food and drinks industry. IFF has handed £50,000 to Essex and Suffolk Rivers Trust in a civil sanction, as well as payed the Environment Agency’s investigation and legal costs of more than £16,000. The company has also made significant changes to its procedures and infrastructure to avoid a repeat of the incident by installing equipment to contain spills and improving its accident-reporting system. The company has also reviewed the sites drainage plans.

Businesses are reminded to put in place measures to prevent, minimise or mitigate the effects of any spillage risks and thereby break the pollutant linkages between these three. Risk assessments should consider risk assessment needs to consider:

  • physical, chemical and biological properties of any material that maybe spilt

  • how materials are stored or transported and the condition of storage containers

  • possible effects of accidents, flooding, vandalism and failure of containment

  • location, including proximity to local water courses, sensitive groundwater locations, public water abstraction points and environmentally sensitive areas

  • surface water drains and foul sewers that flow off site

  • any sustainable drainage systems on site

  • operations and layout of the site

  • risks posed to people and the environment and the extent of the possible damage

  • local landscape and different weather conditions and the flood risk that could be reasonably expected at and around the site.