Inspection Services Blog

CDFA issues $1.89 million penalty to Agro Research International LLC for adulteration and mislabeling of organic fertilizer

The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) Fertilizing Materials Inspection Program and California State Organic Program today announced that a penalty of $1.89 million has been issued to Agro Research International LLC of Sorrento, FL, for adulteration and mislabeling of the registered organic input material AGRO GOLD WS. The product was found to contain the synthetic herbicides diquat and glyphosate.
 
CDFA served a “Notice of Penalty and Adverse Determination” to Agro Research International LLC President and CEO Marc Lajeunesse. The notice identified 378 counts of adulteration and mislabeling violations of AGRO GOLD WS. The notice requires an additional payment of $92,312.13 in reimbursement for investigative costs.
 
CDFA initiated an investigation into AGRO GOLD WS – distributed within a box co-packaged with organic herbicide WEED SLAYER – in August 2020. AGRO GOLD WS was registered with CDFA as a “biological amendment” organic input material and was required to adhere to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program standards for organic food and crop production. CDFA’s investigation analyzed 16 unique lots of AGRO GOLD WS. All laboratory analyses indicated unequivocal confirmation of adulteration with diquat and glyphosate at significant levels. Unique samples later analyzed by four other states’ departments of agriculture concurred with CDFA’s results.
 
On December 4, 2020, CDFA’s Fertilizing Materials Inspection Program, pursuant to its authority under the Food and Agricultural Code, issued an order of statewide quarantine and removal from sale.  On the same date, CDFA’s State Organic Program executed a statewide stop use order for AGRO GOLD WS. Sale and use of this product posed a public health risk because the synthetic herbicides were not disclosed on its label. 
 
Parties in possession of AGRO GOLD WS who wish to dispose of quarantined inventory are instructed to submit a disposal plan to CDFA via this form.

View this original CDFA news release here.

This entry was posted in CDFA Feed, Fertilizer and Livestock Drugs Regulatory Services Branch, CDFA Fertilizing Materials Inspection Program, CDFA Inspection Services Division, CDFA Organic Input Material Program and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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