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U.S. EPA settles with Unified Western Grocers for alleged pesticide violations: Company agrees to pay $270,000 in penalties


LOS ANGELES – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently reached a $270,000 settlement with Unified Western Grocers, a Los Angeles, Calif.-based grocery distributor, for the sale and distribution of an unregistered pesticide, a violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.

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

“Staph, Salmonella, and Pseudomonas are harmful bacteria that can cause serious damage to human health. Products that claim to eliminate such bacteria must be registered with EPA as a pesticide,” 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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