Scotts Miracle-Gro Named in at Least Four Lawsuits over Toxic Birdseed Sales

Scotts Miracle-Gro, the largest marketer of branded consumer lawn and garden products, has been named in several lawsuits alleging the company knowingly sold millions of units of toxic birdseed, and even lied to consumers about the feed’s toxicity when the products were recalled in 2008.   Plaintiffs in one class action complaint that seeks $5 million from Scotts Miracle-Gro have moved for the consolidation of their toxic birdseed lawsuit with three others filed in California.

According to a report from Courthouse News, Scotts began selling 93 different types of birdseed contaminated with Storcide II and Actellic 5E in November 2005.  The chemicals were applied to the birdseed to prevent insect infestations, but the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had not approved either chemical for use in bird feed.   Scotts issued a recall for the toxic birdseed in 2008, including the following brands.

•    Morning Song
•    Country Pride
•    Scotts Songbird Selections
•    Scotts Wild Bird Food
•    Meijers brand wild bird food
•    Harris Teeters brand birdseed
•    Publix bird food
•    Royal Wing brand birdseed
•    Purina brand wild bird seed products
•    Nutriplan brand birdseed
•    Anderson’s bird mix

“The EPA-approved Storcide II label specifically warns that ‘Storcide II is extremely toxic to fish and toxic to birds and other wildlife,” the class action lawsuit states.   “The consumers also claim the label warns that “exposed treated seeds are hazardous to birds and other wildlife,” Courthouse News said.  A Scotts’ chemist and ornithologist even warned Scotts about the hazard, according to the complaint, but the company continued to sell the products.

When Scott’s  finally issued the recall for the toxic birdseed, the lawsuit claims the company “sought to create the impression that the recall was solely a ‘regulatory matter’ because the ‘insect controls’ were not approved for use on animal seed, suggesting that the recall had little to do with the safety or appropriateness of Morning Song products for feed for wild birds and wild animals.”  In the end, only about 2 million of 73 million units were recovered in the recall.  As a result, it is highly likely that tainted birdseed continued to be sold by retailers around the country who were not aware of the recall.

In March, Scotts Miracle-Gro pleaded guilty to knowingly selling Morning Song birdseed and other birdseed products that had been treated with the two chemicals in violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.

Storcide II contains the active ingredient, chlorpyrifos-methy, and is known to be toxic to birds, fish and wildlife.  Chlorpyrifos-methyl is one of the many chemical poisons linked to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), the mysterious bee collapse phenomenon that has been observed all across the world. Actellic 5E contains the active ingredient pirimiphos-methyl, which is also known to be toxic to birds, fish and wildlife.  Both chemical toxins act as cholinesterase inhibitors that result in overstimulation of the nervous system. Small doses of either poison cause symptoms that include nausea, dizziness, and confusion, and higher doses lead to respiratory paralysis and death.

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