Santa Paula farm supply retailer settles pesticide case
An agricultural supply retailer in Santa Paula that sold pesticides to unpermitted buyers will pay $625,000 to settle a civil case brought by state regulators and county prosecutors, the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office announced Jan. 4.
Under state law, certain pesticides can only be sold to and used by people with the proper permits from a county agricultural commissioner’s office. The Santa Paula company, Fruit Growers Supply, made 317 unlawful sales of these restricted pesticides between Jan. 1, 2019 and Nov. 4, 2020, according to the statement from District Attorney Erik Nasarenko’s office.
Fruit Growers Supply “has accepted responsibility for breakdowns in its internal control systems related to the sale of the herbicide and rodenticide products,” the statement said.
The company was investigated by numerous state and local agencies, who determined that employees had bypassed an internal software program that alerted them when restricted pesticides were being sold.
The pesticides sold included herbicides that require notification of nearby schools and residences before spraying, and anticoagulant rodenticides, which can contribute to the deaths of mountain lions, bobcats and other wild animals.
Of the $625,000 settlement, $100,000 will go to the National Park Services for its Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, to help protect wildlife harmed by pesticide poisoning.