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EPA settles pesticide case with Del Monte Fresh Produce for $24,640


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently fined Del Monte Fresh Produce Co., a Kunia, Hawaii fruit grower, $24,640 for improperly using registered pesticides, a violation of federal pesticide law.

The company allegedly misused the registered pesticides Telone II, Assure II, and Diazinon 50 W Pro during their application at its Kunia pineapple facility in 2004 and 2005. The company failed to comply with label directions regarding pesticide application and precautions to protect worker health and the environment.

“Companies must ensure employees applying pesticides protect themselves and others from potential pesticide exposure by following all label requirements,” said Katherine Taylor, associate director of the EPA’s Communities and Ecosystems Division for the Pacific Southwest region. “Failure to obey these necessary safeguards is considered a serious violation and can endanger the employees and others in the area.”

During the improper pesticide applications in 2004-05, Del Monte Fresh Produce failed to:

* have a certified pesticide applicator apply or supervise the application of restricted use pesticides to the crops;
* notify workers of pesticide applications;
* provide decontamination supplies to workers; and
* protect workers from exposure to drifting pesticides.

The Hawaii Department of Agriculture discovered the 28 violations during inspections performed in April and May 2004 and September 2005. Worker complaints triggered the initial investigation.

Before selling or distributing any pesticide in the United States, companies must register the pesticide with the EPA and include on the pesticide labeling directions for use and other information necessary to protect human health and the environment. Federal law requires that agricultural employers comply with these labeling directions during pesticide applications to protect farm workers and others who may be in the vicinity.


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