Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA): Agriculture-Related Enforcement Cases 2001
The following are agriculture-related enforcement cases pertaining to the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, Rodenticide Act. This information is provided for reference. Over time, links to news items may become unavailable. In these cases the item will remain listed, but no link will be provided. Also, please be aware that the information in any particular article may be outdated or superseded by additional information.
EPA Enforcement Cases 2001
- September 24, 2001: Complaint Issued For Pesticide Ingredient Switch Posing A Potential Health, Environment Risk
- August 24, 2001: EPA To Seek Penalties From Pesticide Company
- August 23, 2001: Ohio Company, Executives Plead Guilty to Falsifying Test Results for Repellent
- July 31, 2001: Connecticut Pesticide Company Pays EPA Fine for Reporting Violations
- July 18, 2001: EPA Cited Ashta Chemicals for Pesticide Violations
- July 12, 2001: EPA, FDA, and State Partners Respond to Misuse of Pesticide Zeta-cypermethrin (Fury and Mustang)
September 24, 2001Complaint Issued For Pesticide Ingredient Switch Posing A Potential Health, Environment Risk
EPA issued a complaint against a company on September 13, 2001 for violating the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) by selling or distributing several pesticides which may present an unreasonable risk to human health and the environment. The company allegedly offered for sale or distribution several pesticide end-use products and active ingredient pesticides in which the ingredients did not coincide with the formula registered with EPA under the FIFRA law.
August 24, 2001EPA To Seek Penalties From Pesticide Company
EPA's New England office announced that it intends to seek monetary penalties against a corporation for selling unregistered and improperly labeled pesticides and pesticide devices. The proposed penalty in this administrative complaint against the Mansfield, Mass.-based company is $209,000. This penalty is the largest proposed penalty in an EPA New England pesticide enforcement case. The corporation sells and distributes pet care products and specialty chemicals for pond and aquarium maintenance from its U.S. headquarters on Hampden Road. The penalty stems from an inspection last March by inspectors from the MA Department of Food and Agriculture. They collected six samples of different aquarium and pond pest control products for algae control sold by the corporation.
These products are regulated as pesticides under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) because they claim to prevent or destroy pests, such as algae. Under FIFRA, regulated pesticides must be registered with EPA before they are sold or distributed. EPA later determined that these pesticides were neither registered or properly labeled as FIFRA requires. "This is an example of inter-agency cooperation at its best and I'm please our inspectors were able to assist EPA in protecting human health and the environment," said Jonathan L. Healy, commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Food and Agriculture, which oversees the state pesticide bureau.
In 1999, EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance sent an enforcement alert to all known pet care product producers and distributors in the U.S., including this corporation. This alert provided specific information about what EPA considers a pesticide and what must be registered and how that registered product must be labeled. Examples were provided in this enforcement alert consistent with the claims being made by these products. Despite this outreach effort by EPA, these products were still not registered or labeled as required.
In 1993, the corporation received a letter of warning from EPA for offering pet care products for sale that claimed to be pesticides without proper federal registration or proper labeling. Although the products were flea shampoos for dogs and cats, the warning letter advised the corporation of their responsibility for properly registering and labeling all products it sold or distributed.
August 23, 2001Ohio Company, Executives Plead Guilty to Falsifying Test Results for Repellent
A company in Twinsburg, Ohio, and two of its executives pleaded guilty on Aug. 16 to submitting a false application to EPA concerning products designed to repel squirrels and birds. The plea calls for the company to pay a $100,000 fine and both men to each pay a $10,000 fine. The men knowingly submitted falsified test results to EPA concerning a product. The tests were allegedly run on samples of a chemical formulation of the product that was different from the one the company currently markets. Falsifying test results can create a chemical exposure risk that may have adverse health impacts. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the FBI, the DOD Criminal Investigative Service Inspector General Office, the Office of the Indiana State Chemist, and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency with the assistance of EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Cleveland, OH.
July 31, 2001Connecticut Pesticide Company Pays EPA Fine for Reporting Violations
EPA announced that a water tech company has paid a fine of $4,125 for failing to file its pesticide production report for the 2000 fiscal year on time. The company, based in Southport, Conn., is a producer of pesticides and was required to submit the FY 2000 production report under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) by March 1, 2001. The company was one of two companies out of 160 pesticide companies in New England that did not file its report.
In April, 2001, EPA contacted by phone a total of 18 pesticide producing establishments who had not submitted this report on or before the March 1 deadline. Of those 18 who were contacted, 16 submitted their reports to EPA immediately after the courtesy call. EPA issued warning notices to those 16 delinquent establishments for submitting this report notably late. But receiving no report from Hoffman in response to that call, EPA filed an administrative penalty action on June 22, 2001. The company did submit it's FY 2000 pesticide report in response to that action.
July 12, 2001EPA, FDA, and State Partners Respond to Misuse of Pesticide Zeta-cymethrin (Fury and Mustang)
In the summer of 2001, EPA and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in cooperation with EPA Regional Offices, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and State regulatory officials, has been investigating incidents in which the restricted use pesticide zeta-cypermethrin (registered by FMC under the trade names Fury and Mustang) was illegally applied to 6,458 acres of wheat in Arkansas and 18,271 acres in Mississippi. Possible misuse of the compound on other crops in Tennessee is also being investigated at this time.
Zeta-cypermethrin is not registered for use on wheat and no wheat tolerances are established, so any detectable residues on wheat would make a treated crop adulterated. State agencies have detected residues on some of the treated wheat well above the existing tolerance for zeta-cypermethrin on cotton. EPA has been working closely with Federal and State officials to determine the dimensions of the misuse, to coordinate a response within EPA and with the other concerned federal agencies, and to work with States and regional and field offices of FDA to make sure the adulterated wheat does not enter commerce.
In June 2001, EPA and FDA issued a joint letter to EPA Regions and the States for distribution to farmers warning them not to move the contaminated wheat into the market or feed it to animals. EPA, FDA, and State officials signed an agreement with the registrant of zeta-cypermethrin whereby the registrant agreed to: (1) notify all affected growers of the company's plans to purchase their adulterated wheat; (2) purchase all wheat from the growers identified by the State regulatory officials; (3) notify FDA and EPA immediately of growers refusing to sell their adulterated wheat; (4) monitor the harvest to ensure that the adulterated wheat does not enter interstate commerce; (5) store the wheat in segregated and secured facilities (either on growers' farms or in contracted commercial facilities); and, (6) be responsible for ensuring that this wheat not be released into interstate commerce unless and until FDA, in consultation with EPA and USDA, provides clearances following review of testing results generated by using FDA-approved methods. EPA has concluded that the residues of zeta-cypermethrin in/on wheat and its processed commodities do not pose a dietary risk once the levels in the raw agricultural commodity (RAC) fall below the detection limit of 0.02 ppm. EPA informed FDA of its determination in a letter.
In June 2001, EPA briefed officials of the State FIFRA Issues Research and Evaluation Group (SFIREG) on the Fury misuse situation. In response, the SFIREG committee drafted and unanimously passed a resolution supporting vigorous federal and state enforcement actions against any parties involved in misuse of pesticides on food crops. SFIREG was established through a cooperative agreement in 1978 by EPA and the Association of American Pesticide Control Officials (AAPCO) to exchange information between EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs and State regulatory officials.
The SFIREG Resolution states:
In view of the potential adverse consequences to the nation's food supply as a result of illegal pesticide use, and the desire of the state and federal regulatory agencies to ensure full compliance with state and federal pesticide law:
SFIREG strongly supports the vigorous and full investigation of possible violations of state and/or federal pesticide control law, and specifically the current investigation into the alleged misuse of Fury insecticide on wheat.
SFIREG also strongly supports and encourages the full prosecution of any person or company found to be a party to such misuse, including any grower, certified or licensed applicator, crop consultant or other agronomic advisor, pesticide product distributor, or pesticide product registrant involved in such illegal activity.