Like most Canadians, residents of the city of Hamilton, Ontario, are used to waking up to find that their yards and homes are covered in a white coat. But when they left their homes one recent morning, they were surprised to find that it was not snow that had fallen overnight.
At first, Adrienne Van Halem believed that the city authorities had accidentally sprayed salt on the roads, sidewalks and yards in her neighborhood.
“But when I got closer, I realized it wasn’t salt at all. There were white envelopes covering everything, ”she said. “It was soybean snowfall.”
She shared images of her car with Reddit and a neighborhood group on Facebook, where some urged her to quickly contact the city. Others, however, said the occasional dump of soybean husks was part of life in Hamilton, an industrial city an hour southwest of Toronto.
“To grow [here] the snow was black and the car was dirty… living near any factory… be prepared for pollution and fallout, ”one user wrote.
Van Halem, who lives down the street from a US-based Bunge-operated soy processing plant, contacted the company to see if they had an explanation.
The next day, she received a voicemail message confirming that the soybean pods were accidentally released after a filter malfunction.
“While discharging the hulls poses no risk to the health or safety of neighbors or employees, we understand the residue was an inconvenience to our neighbors,” Bunge spokesperson Deb Seidel told CBC News. .
Van Halem says she received a gift certificate for the cheapest cleaning package from a local car wash from the St Louis-based company, whose 2020 revenues exceeded $ 40 billion.
“I appreciate the gesture because my car is still dirty from it,” Van Halem said. “And I understand that this is one of the realities of living in a semi-industrial area. “
She and her husband knew food processing sites used to accidentally release products into the air when they recently bought their home. In 2020, a factory accidentally dumped sugar on a neighborhood.
“But it didn’t leave a good taste in my mouth that the company didn’t seem to realize it had happened until the neighbors started complaining.”