EPA and Albaugh, LLC recently reached a $112,684 settlement to resolve allegations that Albaugh violated the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (“FIFRA”) by distributing pesticides that were misbranded and contained ingredients that did not match the products’ confidential statements of formulation. The significant penalty underscores EPA’s continued focus on pursuing pesticide registrants for violations of FIFRA – with a particular emphasis on noncompliant pesticide labels. Furthermore, the fact that the alleged violations were the result of a 2013 inspection of Albaugh’s St. Joseph, Missouri facility is a reminder to regulated entities that enforcement may occur years after a violation is discovered. Accordingly, maintaining relevant documentation and institutional knowledge after an inspection can be critical for responding to or defending a future enforcement action.
FIFRA prohibits the distribution or sale of misbranded pesticides. A pesticide is “misbranded” under FIFRA Section 2(q)(1)(A) if its labeling is false or misleading in any particular. This includes, among other things, when a pesticide’s label does not contain necessary directions for use (FIFRA Section 2(q)(1)(F)) and when a label does not contain a warning or caution statement which may be necessary to protect human health and the environment (FIFRA Section 2(q)(1)(G)). FIFRA Section 12(a)(1)(C) also makes it unlawful for any person to distribute or sell a registered pesticide which has a composition that is different than the composition in its confidential statement of formula.
Albaugh’s alleged violations were discovered during an inspection of Albaugh’s pesticide products that were fully packaged and ready for shipment. The inspector photographed product labels, collected certified copies of product labels, took samples of product for analysis, and reviewed and copied invoices for the sale and shipment of products. EPA later used these documents to substantiate its allegations against Albaugh.
A copy of the signed Consent Agreement and Final Order can be accessed here.