Gardening company faces $12.5 million penalty for adding poison to bird food

AFP Photo/Patrick Pleul

The US law and garden products company, Scotts Miracle Gro, the world’s largest marketer of residential pesticides, is facing $12.5 million in fines for violating numerous federal pesticide laws and for adding illegal toxins to wild bird food.

The company pleaded guilty to distributing pesticides with misleading and unapproved labels, distributing unregistered pesticides and falsifying pesticide registrations – but the most disturbing was its use of toxic insecticide in its bird food products, including Storcide II and Actellic 5E.

Part of Friday’s $12.5 million criminal settlement will go towards restoring some of the wildlife the company may have endangered. Scotts will be forced to contribute $500,000 to organizations that protect bird habitats. Other fines include a $6 million civil penalty, $2 million for environmental projects and a $4 million criminal state fine.

Storcide II is extremely toxic to fish and toxic to birds and other wildlife,” reads the label on the containers of the chemical. Still, Scotts used the substance and sold its illegally treated bird food for two years after it began making it and for six months after employees warned the company of its dangers. The company admitted it used the toxic substances to protect against insects in the bird food during storage.

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