At Good Sweet Earth, we urge our customers to avoid Scotts products (Miracle Gro, Turf Builder, pesticides and herbicides) for their gardens and lawns at all costs. These products are made from synthetic chemicals that absolutely, positively kill your soil. Using the term “fertilizer” to describe Miracle Gro is terribly ironic because these products actually sterilize your soil when applied.
Oh sure, Scotts claims these products aren’t dangerous, and that fruits and vegetables grown with their products are completely safe for human consumption. But did you know that Scotts recently sold birdseed that was actually poisonous to birds? If anything is supposed to be bird-friendly, shouldn’t it be birdseed? But here was Scotts, selling birdseed that contained a pesticide that was toxic to birds– and the company actually lied about the safety of this product to the EPA!
You can read all about Scotts’ criminal behavior in this brief released by the U.S. Department of Justice last fall, but here’s an especially damning couple of paragraphs:
In the plea agreement, Scotts admitted that it applied the pesticides Actellic 5E and Storcide II to its bird food products even though EPA had prohibited this use. Scotts had done so to protect its bird foods from insect infestation during storage. Scotts admitted that it used these pesticides contrary to EPA directives and in spite of the warning label appearing on all Storicide II containers stating, “ Storcide II is extremely toxic to fish and toxic to birds and other wildlife.” Scotts sold this illegally treated bird food for two years after it began marketing its bird food line and for six months after employees specifically warned Scotts management of the dangers of these pesticides. By the time it voluntarily recalled these products in March 2008, Scotts had sold more than 70 million units of bird food illegally treated with pesticide that is toxic to birds.
Scotts also pleaded guilty to submitting false documents to EPA and to state regulatory agencies in an effort to deceive them into believing that numerous pesticides were registered with EPA when in fact they were not. The company also pleaded guilty to having illegally sold the unregistered pesticides and to marketing pesticides bearing labels containing false and misleading claims not approved by EPA.
This wasn’t a mistake or an oversight on the part of Scotts. This was willful and criminal behavior, all in the name of turning a larger profit. The only thing they cared about was selling their product, even if it meant killing birds in the process. If they lied to consumers and the Environmental Protection Agency about the safety of their birdseed, why should we believe them when they say their fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides are safe? When it comes to feeding your family and friends safe foods, do you really want to take that risk?
Scotts had to pay about $12.5 million in criminal and civil fines, as well as perform community service, as a result of their despicable behavior. However, it’s estimated that Scotts sold 73 million bags of this tainted birdseed over the course of three years. My guess is that they made a heckofa lot more than $12.5 million off of these bags of poisonous seed , so there’s a good chance that Scotts will merely see these types of fines as a cost of doing business, and continue doing business as usual.
We’re sticking with Worm Compost in our garden.
Steve & Corey Veldheer are organic yard & garden specialists in west Michigan.