IFF is hit with lawsuit concerning its fragrance emissions.
Three Jacksonville residents have filed a lawsuit against International Flavors and Fragrances (IFF) factory contending the vile, “noxious” odor coming from the facility is interfering with their quality of life. The lawsuit was stricken by a judge just hours after it was presented. However, it was dismissed due to a filing error which attorneys plan correct so they can present it for consideration again. Allegations in the civil suit filed earlier this month referred to the odor “sickening” and “indecent and offensive to people with ordinary health and sensibilities.” The judge rejected the language it used.
“That’s, I think, a very promising sign that the judge doesn’t dispute that these are the right people to bring this kind of a case before a judge,” said Josh Gellers, a board member with the Murray Hill Preservation Association, working with the city to challenge the odor. According to District City Councilmember Randy Defoor’s office, the city is taking enforcement action against IFF. “I think we should use every avenue that’s available to us,” said Gellers. “Even protests if it really comes to it. Together we can address this issue and get it fixed.”
Flavors and Fragrances has denied any claims it is responsible for a foul scent. A December letter sent on behalf of the company and cited late last year by the city of Jacksonville’s Environmental Quality Division for odor violations at which attorney Stacy Watson May presented its findings, stated “because IFF remains in compliance with its state-issued Title V air permit, the factory could not be responsible for the odor complaints in the Murray Hill neighborhood.” May said the company’s “sensor technology and in-person evaluations have yet to identify a connection between the odor complaints in the Murray Hill neighborhood and IFF’s facility” and noted IFF is “only one of several manufacturing facilities in the area.” She added, “The fact that the company is in constant production is inconsistent with the intermittent odor complaints from residents in Murray Hill.”
May wrote further, “IFF’s operations have not changed recently and we are not aware of any basis for the IFF facility to be the cause of the odors in Murray Hill…The Murray Hill neighborhood is approximately three miles away, making it highly improbable that any odor from IFF could be responsible for the complaints there.” She added, “IFF will fully cooperate with the City’s investigation and we trust the City will work to identify the actual source of the objectionable odor.”
The IFF site states the company’s purpose as using “uncommon sense” to reimagine the fragrance industry. The mission page contends the team uses artistry, science, and expertise to “create unique and unexpected scents, tastes, experiences” the world craves – which seems to be in direct contract to what residents are implying. The mission also includes a piece about “redefining what a flavors and fragrances company can stand for by questioning everything.” Perhaps it will begin to question its impact on the surrounding community.