Enforcement

Monsanto Company FIFRA Settlement

(Washington, DC - July 8, 2010) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that Monsanto Company Inc., of St. Louis, Missouri, has agreed to pay a $2.5 million penalty to resolve misbranding violations related to the sale and distribution of cotton seed products containing genetically engineered pesticides. This is the largest civil administrative penalty settlement ever received under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).

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Monsanto Company has reached an agreement with EPA resolving violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). EPA took enforcement action after the company distributed and sold two misbranded pesticides: Bollgard Cotton and Bollgard II Cotton. Both of these pesticides are plant-incorporated protectants (PIPs) that are registered for use in cotton seeds and plants.

Overview of Company and Location of Facilities

The Monsanto Company, along with its subsidiaries, is a leading global provider of agricultural products for farmers with net sales of $11.7 billion in 2009. Monsanto is a worldwide distribution, sales, and marketing company for seeds, biotechnology trait products, and herbicides.

The Monsanto Company, based in St. Louis-based, multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation. It is the world's leading producer of the herbicide glyphosate, marketed as "Roundup." Monsanto is also the leading producer of genetically engineered seed. It sells 90 percent of the world's genetically engineered seeds. The Seeds and Genomics segment of the company produces leading seed brands, including DEKALB, Asgrow, Deltapine, Seminis, and De Ruiter. Monsanto develops biotechnology traits that assist farmers in controlling insects and weeds.

Monsanto also provides other seed companies with genetic material and biotechnology traits for their seed brands. Through distributors, independent retailers and dealers, agricultural cooperatives, plant raisers, and agents, Monsanto markets DEKALB, Asgrow and Deltapine branded germplasm to farmers in every agricultural region of the world.

The violations involved in this settlement took place throughout the cotton growing regions of the following 22 states:

States where violations occurred
Alabama Georgia Louisiana North Carolina
Arizona Iowa Maryland Oklahoma
Arkansas Illinois Minnesota South Carolina
California Kansas Mississippi Tennessee
Florida Kentucky Missouri Texas
  New Mexico Virginia

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Violations

The settlement resolves the following violations:

  • Sold and distributed misbranded pesticidal cotton seed (Bollgard and Bolgard II), Section 12(a) (1)(E) of FIFRA, 7 U.S.C. § 136j(a)(1)(E).

EPA has alleged 1,782 violations in the settlement agreement. EPA required Monsanto to restrict the sale of this seed and to include planting restrictions in grower guides. Grower guides accompanying the seeds at the time of sale and distribution did not contain required planting restrictions for 10 Texas counties (Carson, Dallam, Hansford, Hartley, Hutchison, Lipscomb, Moore, Ochiltree, Roberts and Sherman).

Planting restrictions serve to protect the environment from the potential harm associated with the uncontrolled spread of the genetically engineered component of these pesticides, Bacillus thuringiensis.

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Pollutant Reductions in tons per year (tpy)

These violations don't result in a clear reduction of pollutants. However, by correcting the violations, the Agency is assuring that properly labeled pesticide products are being used in all cotton growing regions of the country. Approximately 9.05 million acres of cotton are planted each year in the United States. These pesticide products are potentially used in any or all cotton seeds. (Note: Actual pesticide product information is protected by FIFRA Confidential Business Information regulations).

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Health Effects & Environmental Benefits

The Agency's action underscores the importance of compliance with FIFRA's labeling requirements intended to ensure that growers have all the appropriate information in order to apply pesticides correctly.

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Civil Penalty

Monsanto will pay a total civil administrative penalty of $2.5 million to the United States.

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Resolution

This settlement, filed with the EPA Environmental Appeals Board (EAB), Docket No. FIFRA-HQ-2010-50014, was given final EAB approval.

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For more information, contact:

Tom Charlton
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC 20460-0001
(202) 564-6960
Tom Charlton (charlton.tom@epa.gov)

Brian Dyer
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC 20460-0001
(202) 564-4166
Brian Dyer (dyer.brian@epa.gov)

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