The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, whose website states that it is “dedicated to providing you with the best products and services for all your green spaces,” has been sentenced to pay $12.5 million in fines for selling bird seed tainted with insecticides not authorized for use in wild bird food.

The fines are the largest ever handed down in the history of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act put in place back in 1947.

A federal court decided the settlement agreement between Scotts and the U.S. Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency, handing down a sentence which consisted of a $4 million criminal fine, $6 million in civil penalties, and $2 million worth of investments in environmental projects. The company sold the tainted bird seed for two years before recalling it in March 2008, and prosecutors stated that the company had submitted false documents to the EPA to try to cover it up.

“As the world’s largest marketer of residential use pesticides, Scotts has a special obligation to make certain that it observes the laws governing the sale and use of its products,” said Ignacia Moreno, the Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice.

To that end, it’s also worth nothing that Scotts is Monsanto’s exclusive agent for Roundup weed and grass killer and that a partnership between the National Wildlife Federation and ScottsMiracle-Gro was ended once word got out and a public uproar erupted over its selling of the tainted bird seed.

Scotts Chief Executive Jim Hagedorn said that “our consumers are at the heart of our business, and I hope they’ll see our openness, cooperation, and acceptance of responsibility are all a part of our commitment to provide products they can trust and rely upon.” Now if they could just eliminate all the toxic chemicals from their products, as that would truly provide products we could all trust and rely upon.

[via Reuters ]

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