Environmental Protection

Scotts Miracle-Gro to Pay $12.5 Million for Pesticide Violations

EPA announced the company was sentenced Sept. 7 in an Ohio federal court for 11 criminal violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).

Scotts Miracle-Gro Company was sentenced Sept. 7 in a federal district court in Columbus, Ohio, to pay a $4 million fine and perform community service for 11 criminal violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), EPA announced. The company had pleaded guilty in February 2012 to illegally applying insecticides to its wild bird food products that are toxic to birds, falsifying pesticide registration documents, distributing pesticides with misleading and unapproved labels, and distributing unregistered pesticides. The agency said this is the largest criminal penalty under FIFRA to date.

Scotts also entered into a separate civil agreement with EPA in which it agreed to pay more than $6 million in penalties and spend $2 million on environmental projects to resolve additional, civil pesticide violations that include distributing or selling unregistered, canceled, or misbranded pesticides, including products with inadequate warnings or cautions.

"The misuse or mislabeling of pesticide products can cause serious illness in humans and be toxic to wildlife," said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. "Today's sentence and unprecedented civil settlement hold Scotts accountable for widespread company noncompliance with pesticide laws, which put products into the hands of consumers without the proper authorization or warning labels."

"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. For having failed to do so, Scotts has been sentenced to pay the largest fine in the history of FIFRA enforcement," said Ignacia S. Moreno, assistant attorney general for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice. "The Department of Justice will continue to work with EPA to assure that pesticides applied in homes and on lawns and food are sold and used in compliance with the laws intended to assure their safety."

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