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KFC settles lawsuit over smoking ovens, violations

November 27, 2012 |  3:28 pm

Kentucky Fried Chicken and one of its largest franchisees will pay four California counties for failing to follow proper protocol when installing new ovens. Credit: Wilfredo Lee / Associated Press

KFC and one of its largest franchisees will pay $294,000 to four California counties for failing to follow proper protocol when installing new ovens three years ago, officials said.

The Los Altos-based Harman Management Corp. and KFC agreed to pay a $200,000 fine and $94,000 to settle the complaint, the Los Angeles County district attorney's office announced Tuesday. The money will be equally split between the district attorney offices of L.A., Napa, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, which filed the lawsuit.

The suit accused the companies of violating the California Retail Food Code when installing news ovens used to prepare grilled chicken by not advising or supervising their franchises "in complying with the requirements for submitting plans and obtaining prior approval from local health authorities," the L.A. district attorney's office said. The ovens allegedly caused "unsafe smoke ventilation issues" in some Northern California restaurants.

The problems were quickly fixed, officials noted.

The companies also agreed to an injunction that prohibits them from violating the retail food code in the future, officials said, and will provide "specific notice" of state environmental health requirements to their franchises.

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-- Kate Mather

Follow Kate Mather on Twitter or Google+.

Photo: KFC and one of its largest franchisees will pay four California counties for failing to follow proper protocol when installing new ovens. Credit: Wilfredo Lee / Associated Press

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