A major U.S. commercial pesticide manufacturer will pay $12.5 million in criminal fines, civil penalties and restoration projects for violating provisions of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) by applying insecticides to bird-food products, falsifying product registration documents, and distributing unregistered pesticides. U.S. v. Scotts Miracle-Gro Co., No. 12-24 (S.D. Ohio 9/7/12).

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio accepted a plea agreement that requires defendant to pay a $4-million criminal fine for FIFRA violations. It also requires defendant to pay more than $6 million for civil violations of FIFRA and to pay $2 million to restore and protect 300 acres of land to prevent runoff of agricultural chemicals into nearby waterways and contribute $500,000 to organizations that protect bird habitat.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the agency’s investigation of defendant’s activities uncovered numerous civil violations of FIFRA, including the nationwide distribution of unregistered, canceled or misbranded pesticides. According to press reports, defendant reported that the violations resulted from the actions of a former employee who has pleaded guilty to federal charges and is awaiting sentencing. See EPA Press Release, September 7, 2012.