Company charged in death of man cooked in tuna steamer

Apr 27, 2015 6:36 PM by Debbie Cobb

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Prosecutors say Bumble Bee Foods and two employees have been charged with violating safety regulations in the death of a worker who was cooked in an industrial oven with tons of tuna.

The Los Angeles district attorney said the company, its plant operations director and its former safety manager were each charged Monday with three counts of violating Occupational Safety & Health Administration rules causing death.

Prosecutors say Jose Melena was cleaning a 35-foot-long oven at the company's Sante Fe Springs plant in 2012 when co-workers loaded it with 12,000 pounds of tuna and turned it on.

Temperatures in the oven reached 270 degrees during the two-hour process.

The state's occupational safety agency previously cited the San Diego-based company with violations for failing to properly assess the danger to employees working in large ovens.

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