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U.S. EPA files complaint against Unified Western Grocers


LOS ANGELES – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently filed an administrative complaint against Unified Western Grocers, a Los Angeles, Calif.-based grocery distributor, seeking $538,200 for the alleged sale and distribution of an unregistered pesticide, in violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.

Located at 5200 Sheila Street, Unified Western Grocers allegedly sold and distributed “Western Family Cleanser with Bleach,” an unregistered product that states on the label that it “wipes out most household germs, including Staph, Salmonella, and Pseudomonas.”

“Staph, Salmonella, and Pseudomonas are all bacteria that can cause serious human diseases. Our pesticide registration rules require that cleaning products claiming to kill, control or wipe out these germs be registered as pesticides,” said Katherine Taylor, Associate Director of the Communities and Ecosystems Division in EPA’s Pacific Southwest region.

The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act requires companies to register cleaning products as pesticides if the cleaning product makes claims to control germs. These requirements protect public health and the environment by ensuring safe production, handling, and application of pesticides, and by preventing false, misleading, or unverifiable product claims.

The case was based on inspections conducted by the State of California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation and the State of Hawaii’s Department of Agriculture in 2005 and 2006.


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