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September 18, 2012 / Corina Valderrama

Scotts Miracle-Gro Will Pay $12.5 Million in Criminal and Civil Penalties for Violating Pesticide Laws

Scotts Miracle-Gro has pled guilty to adding illegal toxins to wild bird food. . The class action lawsuit was filed in federal court in Illinois under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and under the state consumer fraud statutes and/or unfair trade practice acts of Illinois, Missouri, Minnesota, Arkansas, New Mexico, and Kentucky.

The Ohio lawn and garden company was charged with adding Storcide 2 and Actellic 5E, both of which are illegal insecticide chemicals, to its products such as Country Pride, Morning Song, Scotts Songbird Selections, and Scotts Wild Bird Food.

“Scotts failed to disclose that its bird seed contained pesticides that were known to be highly toxic to birds,” says the complaint. “Instead, [Scotts Miracle-Gro] knowingly sold millions of units of its defective and toxic bird seed products, knowing the products would be widely used to feed birds at purchasers’ homes, in back yards and in wild and natural environments across the United States.”

Scotts had been using the chemicals as bird seed coating to prevent insects from ravaging the produce in warehouses prior to shipment and use. Neither chemical, however, are approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use in bird feed. In fact, the EPA specifically recognizes Storcide II as being extremely toxic to birds, fish, and other wildlife.

Scotts has been under investigation by the EPA for the past five years and has been subject to “stop sale, use, or removal orders” for products. The company was sentenced in federal court to a $4 million fine and community service for criminal violations and has agreed to pay more than $6 million and civil penalties and spend $2 million on environmental projects in a settlement with the EPA.

If you feel that you have been the victim of misleading or fraudulent advertising, contact Khorrami LLP for a private consultation.

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