WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - One of the nation's largest lawn and garden products companies was ordered by an Ohio federal court on Friday to pay a penalty exceeding $6 million and spend $2 million on environmental projects.
The decision was in accordance with a settlement that resolves violations under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act. Scotts Miracle-Gro Company distributed or sold unregistered, canceled or misbranded pesticides, including products with inadequate warnings or cautions, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
It is the largest civil settlement under FIFRA to date, it said.
Scotts, which produces pesticides for commercial and consumer lawn and garden uses, pleaded guilty in February to illegally applying insecticides that are toxic to birds to its wild bird food products, falsifying pesticide registration documents, distributing pesticides with misleading and unapproved labels and distributing unregistered pesticides.
"As the world's largest marketer of residential use pesticides, Scotts has a special obligation to make certain that it observes the laws governing the sale and use of its products," said Ignacia S. Moreno, assistant attorney general for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice.
Scotts admitted that it applied the pesticides Actellic 5E and Storcide II to its bird food products even though EPA had prohibited this use. Scotts did so to protect its bird foods from insect infestation during storage.
The EPA said Scotts also pleaded guilty to submitting false documents to state regulatory agencies to deceive them that numerous pesticides were registered with EPA even though they were not.
Scotts will make contributions to several wildlife and environmental organizations as part of its penalty.