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Gold Creek Foods claims chicken parts were planted on Robinson playground
Poultry processing plant offers reward for anyone with information
Water contamination 7
Gold Creek Foods is located on Hwy. 9 N in Dawsonville. - photo by Jessica Taylor

Gold Creek Foods in Dawsonville is searching for an individual they say deposited chicken parts on the playground of Robinson Elementary School last month.


Representatives of the poultry processing plant, which is located on Hwy. 9 North adjacent to the elementary school, are offering a $5,000 reward for “information leading to identification and arrest” of an individual they claim deposited poultry parts on the playground on or around April 11 or April 12 and again on or around April 14.


An ad the plant took out in this week’s paper states that “the person(s) are believed to have been doing so to wrongfully implicate Gold Creek Foods as the source of these parts.”


Gold Creek Foods also provided an image of a person of interest.


The ad states that tipsters will remain anonymous and can call Matthew Johnson at (678) 928-6970 ext. 4043 or send an email to tipline@goldcreekfoods.com.


Gold Creek Foods person of interest
An ad from Gold Creek Foods that ran in the May 2 edition of the Dawson County News states that "the image (above) shows a person of interest with whom representatives of Gold Creek Foods would like to speak." Editor's Note: A previous version of this caption misquoted the ad from Gold Creek Foods.


In March, Gold Creek Foods came under fire after a chemical spill at the plant contaminated a nearby creek, causing the death of numerous fish and other wildlife. Gold Creek Foods did not notify authorities of the spill, which was discovered by City of Dawsonville Employees two days later.


Representatives with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Environmental Protection Division are still investigating the circumstances of the spill and its impact on the creek, which runs into Shoal Creek and the Etowah River.


The school playground was closed Friday, March 23 so that soil tests could be performed to determine if the chemical spill had reached the school grounds. Superintendent Damon Gibbs said the following Monday that results indicated the playground was not affected by the spill and was safe for the students to use.


Gibbs said in an email Tuesday afternoon that after EPD representatives conducted their initial investigation of the chemical spill, they asked the school system to make them aware of anything out of the ordinary.


“A few days later there were a few random poultry parts found on the playground,” Gibbs wrote. “We were instructed by the EPD to clean them up and report any recurrence. We were also cleared to use our playground for student recess.”


Gibbs said the incident was not reported to the police.


This is not the first time the plant’s close proximity to the school has caused issues.


In August of 2013, Gold Creek Foods received notice from the EPD for failing to contain water containing “blood and high biological content” that dripped off trucks when workers loaded and unloaded at the plant. The contaminated stormwater ran above ground onto Robinson Elementary School property and caused the school to close its outdoor classroom and garden.


Gold Creek Foods was required to install a drainage pipe that “eliminated contact between poultry by-products and stormwater” as well as a second drip pad to catch runoff from the trucks.  


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