Nature's Best, LLC, of Inwood, Iowa, has agreed to pay a $19,669 civil penalty to resolve violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).
The penalty stems from 20 alleged sales or distributions of 18 different unregistered pesticide products, including plant regulators, insecticides, and fungicides, and one count for production of pesticides in a facility that was not registered with EPA as a pesticide-producing establishment from 2010 to 2012. Among other products, the matter involved the sale and distribution of plant growth regulators, which FIFRA regulates as pesticides.
FIFRA defines plant growth regulators as substances intended to accelerate or retard the growth of plants. Among other things, substances considered to be plant regulators may include hormone additives intended to stimulate plant root growth or fruiting, such as gibberellins, auxins, and cytokinins derived from seaweed. Products containing these additives are often marketed as fertilizers, but such claims do not exempt products from regulation as pesticides.
Under FIFRA, distributors of pesticides must ensure that pesticides intended for distribution within the U.S. are registered both if the distributor claims the substance can be used as a pesticide or if the product is intended to be used for a pesticidal purpose, which may include, among other uses, as a plant regulator, insecticide, or fungicide.
Many plant growth regulator products are properly registered with EPA. Companies which comply with pesticide registration requirements must pay registration fees and may also incur significant costs in ensuring their products are correctly formulated, and are properly labelled. Accordingly, entities that produce, sell or distribute unregistered pesticides place themselves at an economic advantage relative to their competitors who comply with the law.
EPA registration requirements protect consumers by ensuring that products are formulated in accordance with the product label. Without proper registration and labelling on pesticides (including required safety information), users may unintentionally misapply pesticides and cause damage to crops or non-target areas and may lack adequate first aid information in the event of an accident.
As part of its settlement with EPA, Nature's Best, LLC, has certified that it is presently in compliance with FIFRA and its regulations.