Novozymes settles case with US Department of Justice

In 2005, a discharge of products into a drain at Novozymes Biologicals Inc., in Salem, Virginia, USA occurred. Novozymes Biologicals Inc. was subsequently investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice. The case has now been settled by the two parties.

The 2005 discharge resulted in short-term environmental impact to nearby Mason’s Creek, a tributary of the Roanoke River, but resulted in no long-term harm either to Mason’s Creek or the Roanoke River. Following the discharge, Novozymes Biologicals Inc. took immediate action and implemented corrective measures.

Novozymes Biologicals Inc. was subsequently investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice and has been working with the authorities to ensure satisfactory closure of the issue as reported in Novozymes’ annual reports 2005-2007.

Today, the case was settled between Novozymes and the Department of Justice. The two parties had previously entered a plea agreement which was reviewed by the U.S. District court near Salem (Roanoke Federal Court). The main terms of the settlement are that Novozymes has agreed to plead guilty, pay a fine of USD 275,000, and make a payment of USD 250,000 for an environmental service project in the Roanoke area.

“We deeply regret the incident that occurred at Novozymes Biologicals in Salem, VA. We take full responsibility and have been working to ensure that procedures are in place to minimize the risk of such a thing ever happening again,” explains Thomas Videbæk, Executive Vice President for Novozymes’ BioBusiness. “We are now glad that this three-year-old case is finally coming to a close.”