Owners of a Cape Girardeau County meat processing company accused of illegal water pollution by the Missouri attorney general’s office say any release of slaughterhouse waste that may have affected a nearby creek during the past few years was unintentional. Fruitland American Meat president Peter Whisnant says they have never intentionally had any discharge that went into the creek. Attorney General Chris Koster filed a lawsuit against the company April 13, alleging it allowed slaughterhouse waste to escape its wastewater system on four occasions which resulted in animal waste entering a tributary that flows to Cane Creek. Whisnant, who has run Fruitland American Meat with his family for 15 years, along with a Doniphan ranch, said the company may have had accidental discharges of waste on two occasions, but has not done what the suit alleges. Whisnant said the facility has recently halted operations and may have to lay off some of its 50 employees while it deals with the legal matter. He says it’s hard enough for us small businesses to stay in business without the government coming down on them this way. In the petition, the attorney general’s office asks for injunctions prohibiting the company from any further violations and up to $10,000 in fines for each day the alleged violations occurred. A case review is set to be heard by Judge Benjamin Lewis at 9 a.m. Aug. 3 at the Common Pleas Courthouse in Cape Girardeau.