(NaturalNews) The Scotts Miracle-Gro company has been slapped with a $4 million criminal fine, the largest ever for this type of violation, after pleading guilty back in February to illegally adding unapproved insecticides to several of its bird food lines. Bizjournals and others report that Scotts is also being required to pay $500,000 for community service to satisfy a whopping 11 violations of federal pesticide law, $6 million in a civil agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and $2 million for various environmental restoration projects.
Earlier in the summer, consumers from at least six U.S. states banded together to file a class-action lawsuit against Scotts after the company admitted to lacing several of its bird seed products with illegal insecticides, and knowingly selling these tainted products to consumers for more than two years (http://www.naturalnews.com/036253_Miracle-Gro_poison_chemicals.html). The two insecticides in question were Storcide II (chlorpyrifos-methyl) and Actellic 5E (pirimiphos-methyl).
Neither of these two insecticides had ever been approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use in bird foods. Storcide II, in fact, is specifically labeled to warn users that it is highly toxic to birds, making it wholly unfit for use in bird feed. After word got out that the two chemicals were being used on the company's Country Pride, Morning Song, Scotts Songbird Selections, and Scotts Wild Bird Food brands of bird seed, Scotts voluntarily recalled these products back in 2008.
"In the plea argument, Scotts admitted that it applied the pesticides Actellic 5E and Storcide II to its bird food products even though EPA had prohibited this use," said the EPA in a recent press release about the judgment. "Scotts admitted that it used these pesticides contrary to EPA directive and in spite of the warning label appearing on all Storcide II containers stating, 'Storcide II is extremely toxic to fish and toxic to birds and other wildlife.'"
Scotts also pleaded guilty to falsifying pesticide registration documents, distributing pesticides with misleading and unapproved labels, and distributing unregistered pesticides. The EPA had learned, after all, that a former Scotts worker manipulated key company documents back in 2008 so the company could avoid having to gain approval for the use of certain chemicals in its products.
In a recent press release, Scotts CEO Jim Hagedorn denied that his company had any knowledge of such illegal activity while it was taking place, but apologized for it anyway. Hagedorn insists that this indicting situation is atypical of Scotts' core company values, and that the company has "learned a lot" from it.