The Eggo Company was fined approximately $85,000 for a release of toxic gas from its waffle factory in San Jose, California, officials said.
According to the Santa Clara County district attorney's office, the release occurred in January 2021 when a damaged pipe began leaking anhydrous ammonia.
Officials said managers mistakenly believed the leak was stopped. The district attorney's office said more than an hour passed before anyone called 911, causing the gas to escape to a nearby neighborhood.
People were forced to shelter in place until the threat could be eliminated. No injuries were reported.
The company was criminally charged with negligently discharging an air contaminant, failing to immediately report that release, providing inadequate training to its contractors, and failing to implement an adequate emergency action plan.
It was convicted and ordered to pay the fine on Tuesday.
In a statement to NBC News, a spokesperson for Kellogg, which owns Eggo, said the safety of workers and the environment are top priorities.
"Since that time, we’ve made a number of significant enhancements to our processes and protocols to ensure we have the safest possible environment for our employees and neighbors," the statement says.
The district attorney's office says the Eggo factory uses anhydrous ammonia to freeze the waffles it produces.
It adds that the company has cooperated with regulatory authorities to prevent future releases.