Cheese Co. Sues Cargill After Rocks Found in Salt Delivery

Great Lakes Cheese claimed in a New York Supreme Court complaint on Thursday that the salt silo at its Adams, New York facility was contaminated after Cargill sent it salt which contained rocks in January 2020 and again in August 2020. The silo is reportedly used to store food-grade salt for use in making cheese products and because of the rocks some of the products were ruined or lost value. 

The document was filed by Great Lakes Cheese Co. Inc. and Great Lakes Cheese of New York against three businesses that were involved in the delivery of the salt, Cargill Incorporated, which produced and sold salt, and two transportation companies that transported and delivered the salt, G & L Trucking Inc.and Kuhnle Brothers Inc.,

According to the filing, Great Lakes Cheese contracted with Cargill and the defendant arranged and paid for the shipment of the salt which was sent to the Adams facility. As of Jan. 20, 2020 the salt in the silo was entirely supplied by Cargill and delivered by G & L. The order arriving in the next two days, however, was delivered by Kuhnle.  Before the shipment in August, all of the salt in the silo had been provided by Cargill and delivered by G&L. 

The plaintiffs alleged that Cargill was required to certify that the trucks delivering the salt from both companies “were clean and sanitized for food grade materials before being loaded with salt orders at Cargill’s facility.” Cargill was also reportedly supposed to direct and control the loading of the salt and approve the condition of the salt after loading. The plaintiffs asserted that they did not control or participate in the process before or during the deposit into their silos, and had not done so previously. 

After the January and August orders, the plaintiffs found rocks and pebbles on their salt belt and found that the salt in the silo had been contaminated with rocks.  The plaintiffs said they did not know if the salt existing in the silo prior to the January delivery had been contaminated with rocks, if the salt became contaminated at Cargill’s facility, or if it became contaminated as it was being loaded into the truck. Regardless of how the rocks got into the salt, the plaintiffs purported that in both instances it was not due to its “acts or omissions.” 

Great Lakes Cheese explained that the presence of the rocks caused it to lose value in completed cheese products, specifically in costs undertaken to determine what finished products can be salvaged, and reduced value because the cheese that can be sold will be sold as processed cheese. 

Reportedly, the plaintiffs submitted a claim for losses to Cargill in March 2020 and September 2020, but the defendant has refused to pay for the damages. The complaint included charges of breach of implied warranty, product liability, and negligence. 

Great Lakes Cheese is represented by Hodgson Russ LLP