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U.S. EPA seeks nearly $1 million from 99 Cents Only Stores for pesticide violations

Release Date: 09/30/2008
Contact Information: Margot Perez-Sullivan, (415) 947-4149,

Store sold and distributed unregistered and misbranded products

LOS ANGELES – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency filed a complaint against 99 Cents Only Stores for the alleged sale and distribution of unregistered and misbranded pesticides in multiple stores operated by the company, a violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act.

The EPA is seeking $969,930 in civil penalties from 99 Cents Only Stores for selling two unregistered pesticides, “Bref Limpieza y Desinfeccion Total” and “Farmer’s Secret Berry & Produce Cleaner,” and a misbranded pesticide, “PIC Boric Acid Roach Killer II.”

Bref Limpieza y Desinfeccion Total was imported from Mexico and made claims in Spanish that it disinfects or sanitizes surfaces. Farmer’s Secret Berry & Produce Cleaner claimed that it “inhibits mold, fungus & bacteria including E coli.” Products that make surface disinfection or sanitizer claims are considered pesticides and must be registered under federal law. The third product, PIC Boric Acid Roach Killer II, had labels on eleven containers that were either inside out or upside down making them difficult to read.

"No matter what price consumers pay for products like these, the products must be registered with the EPA and labeled correctly so consumers can use them properly," said Katherine Taylor, associate director of the Communities and Ecosystems Division in the EPA’s Pacific Southwest office. “All pesticides distributors -- discounters and high-end retailers alike -- must comply with the law. This company's apparent disregard for state and federal law in its business practices has led to this enforcement action.”

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation and the Nevada Department of Agriculture discovered the violations during multiple inspections from 2004 to 2008.

FIFRA regulates the sale, distribution, and use of pesticides within the United States. Before selling or distributing a pesticide in the United States, companies must register the pesticide with the EPA. Each producer, seller and distributor is required by federal law to ensure that the registered pesticide is labeled according to agency requirements.

For more information on pesticide regulation and enforcement, please visit:
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