The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says Monsanto has agreed to pay a $2.5 million dollar penalty to resolve misbranding violations related to the sale and distribution of cotton seed products containing genetically engineered pesticides. EPA says this is the largest civil administrative penalty settlement ever received under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act.
In 2007, Monsanto disclosed to EPA that it had distributed misbranded Bollgard and Bollgard II cotton seed to customers in 10 Texas counties where EPA had restricted its planting. EPA's subsequent investigation confirmed that between 2002 and 2007, the company distributed or sold the cotton products more than 1,700 times nationwide without the planting restrictions in its grower guides and that Bollgard and Bollgard II cotton was planted in the restricted counties. EPA lifted the Texas planting restrictions in 2008.
Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, says this agreement shows that when a company violates the law by distributing misbranded pesticides, EPA will take action. She adds that the regulated community should understand that EPA takes these violations seriously, and the public will accept nothing less than compliance.