Springfield dairy resumes operations following 12-hour shut down

State officials required Springfield’s Reiter Dairy to shut down operations temporarily Monday morning after a recent inspection revealed sanitation issues that had not been resolved from a prior visit.

The dairy, at 1961 Commerce Circle, closed shortly after 12 a.m. Monday and resumed operations around noon the same day, said Ashley McDonald, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Agriculture. The issues found at the plant did not present a health danger to consumers, but the site was shut down while crews resolved the issues raised by state inspectors, she said.

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She said inspectors had visited the dairy production facility in September and raised issues related to the cleanliness of the facility and drainage issues in a milk receiving area. Those issues were not resolved when inspectors returned to the site for a separate inspection on Thursday last week, so state inspectors ordered the site to temporarily shut down operations until the issues were resolved.

McDonald said the inspection in September was part of a quarterly review conducted by the agency. Thursday’s inspection was part of a more comprehensive review of facilities the agency conducts about every two years.

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The News-Sun has requested inspection reports from the state, but no further details on the specific violations were available Monday. Inspection reports were not available late Monday.

Officials at Dean Foods Company, which owns Reiter and several other brands, did not return calls seeking comment Monday.

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McDonald said said it’s unlikely the company will face any further penalties in addition to the mandatory shutdown as long as the issues are resolved. Company officials were cooperative Monday, she said.

According to its website, Reiter was founded in Akron in 1933. The company acquired more than 20 dairies across northern Ohio in the 1950s and 1960s and eventually expanded into producing refrigerated and frozen food products.

The company expanded to southern Ohio when it acquired a milk plant and distribution center in Springfield.

Food production plays a significant role in Clark County’s economy. Along with Reiter, Springfield is also the home of companies like Dole Fresh Vegetables, Inc., Woeber’s Mustard and Gordon Food Services, for example. An estimate from the Chamber of Greater Springfield showed Reiter employs approximately 245 workers in the area.

Local economic development officials previously told the News-Sun Reiter's presence in Springfield has grown in recent years as the company has shut other locations and moved more operations to its Springfield plant.

The company has also contributed to charities and other relief efforts, including sending about 8,000 gallons of water to residents in Perrysburg, a suburb of Toledo that was affected when an algae bloom caused concerns with that area's water supply several years ago.

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