EPA Orders Scotts to Stop Sales of Two More 'Weed & Feed' Pesticides

EPA Region 5 has issued "stop sale, use or removal" orders to Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. and two affiliates, barring the distribution and sale of two more misbranded pesticides. The agency says labels on both products make false or misleading claims and one product lacks safety instructions as required by EPA. The action follows similar orders related to two other Scotts Miracle-Gro pesticides with invalid EPA registration numbers, which the agency issued April 23.

Products affected by the new orders are "Scotts Bonus S Max Southern Weed & Feed And Fire Ant Killer," "Scotts Turf Builder Max Plus 2 Weed & Feed And Crabgrass Preventer," and related pesticide products that can be identified by EPA registration numbers 538-301 and 538-299 listed on their packages. Both products are currently registered with EPA. Last week, EPA requested and Scotts agreed to carry out a recall of these additional products.

EPA says a pesticide is misbranded if its label makes false or misleading claims, or does not provide required warning or caution statements that protect public health and the environment. For example, first aid instructions such as "Call a poison control center or doctor for treatment advice" may be necessary.

"Scotts' actions indicate a pattern of disregard for the country's pesticide laws," said Region 5 Administrator Mary A. Gade. "Proper registration, branding, and labeling along with accurate product claims and mandatory safety instructions are crucial so that consumers can have confidence in the pesticide products they use at home. EPA is taking every step necessary to make sure these products are also quickly removed from the marketplace so that further public exposure can be eliminated."

Due to the false and misleading labels, consumers are advised not to use these two products and to store them in a safe, cool, and dry place such as a garage or utility shed, EPA says. Do not dispose of them down the drain, in the garbage, or at a community disposal site. Last week, EPA issued stop sale, use or removal orders against Scotts Miracle-Gro Co., Scotts Lawn Service, three more Scotts Miracle-Gro affiliates and the nine major retailers--Home Depot, Lowe's, Wal-Mart, Ace, Do-It-Best, True Value, Sam's Club, Meijer, and K-Mart--related to two other Scotts Miracle-Gro pesticides with invalid EPA registration numbers.

Those other two products have the invalid EPA registration numbers 62355-4 and 538-304. Invalid registration number 62355-4 is marketed under names including "Garden Weed Preventer Plus Plant Food" and "Miracle-Gro Shake 'n Feed All Purpose Plant Food Plus Weed Preventer." Invalid registration number 538-304 is used primarily by Scotts Lawn Service, a lawn care company. It is marketed under names including "Scotts Lawn Service Fertilizer with .28% Halts," "Scotts Lawn Service Fertilizer 0-0-7 Plus .28% Halts Pro," "Scotts Lawn Service Fertilizer 14-2-5 Plus .28% Halts Pro," and "Scotts Lawn Service Fertilizer 22-0-8 Plus .28% Halts Pro."

EPA and its state partner Ohio Department of Agriculture are conducting a laboratory analysis of the unregistered 62355-4 and 538-304 products. Updated information will be posted online when it becomes available at www.epa.gov/reg5rcra/ptb/news/. Additionally, an EPA consumer hot-line to answer questions about the Scotts recall effort has been established at 888-838-1304 (9 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. CDT). Questions may also be answered by the National Pesticide Information Center at 800-858-7378 (6:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. PDT, including weekends).

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