Friday, March 23, 2012

Scotts Miracle-Gro Knowingly Sold Poisoned Birdseed For Two Years

The birdseed was laced with pesticides to prevent insects from eating it during storage. The pesticides are known toxins to birds (and fish and other wildlife), a fact made known to Scotts' managers by 2 of its employees. Scotts went ahead with it anyway:

Scotts Miracle-Gro – The Bird-killing Company?, The Guardian, 21 March

The EPA investigated and:
"The Scotts Miracle-Gro company entered guilty pleas to all charges in U.S. District Court and these guilty pleas were accepted by Judge James Graham on Tuesday, 13 March 2012."
Scotts said they stopped selling the birdseed in 2008, but there's still some out there:
"[Scotts] sold more than 73 million packages of these poisoned bird foods nationwide to an unsuspecting public for a period of more than two years. Only 2 million of those 73 million units could be recalled."
With unfortunate effects:
"[A] San Diego county couple who lost nearly all of their domestic aviary birds at the end of January 2010 after feeding Scotts Miracle-Gro Morning Song Wild Bird Seed that they had recently purchased from a local Wal-Mart. Out of a flock numbering nearly 100 birds, only eight survived."
Just to make a buck:
"Even if a penalty of $73 million -- merely $1 for each poisoned bird food item sold -- was levied against the company, Scotts Miracle-Gro will probably still earn a profit from sales of all their illegal products."
People say we should do away with the EPA. Scotts only admitted what they were doing, and stopped what they were doing, because of the EPA's investigation.


Claudia said...

WTF! Poisoned Bird Food?! And you know those two guys got demoted for not being team players.

Claudia said...

Someone on that link said that these pesticides are used on food humans eat too.

"Even the British Medical Association confirmed that the highest residue levels are found in wholemeal bread and that beer could have an "unexpected extra kick" because of those residues."

What we have is a canary in the coalmine issue.

Ben P. DaSalt said...

This story actualizes the metaphor of “the canary in the coal mine” regarding certain aspects of our food system.

Perhaps we should re-badge the old adage “the canary and the Scotts Miracle-Gro bird seed.”

Bix said...

That's an interesting line of thought. It would explain why I found higher levels of pesticide residues in grain products like bread and bagels than in lettuce. Even levels in mustard were higher than lettuce and tomatoes. I guess residues in seeds and grains concentrate when you process them. I forget the post, I'll look for it. I wondered how they kept the bugs out of the piles of grain.

The Environmental Working Group talks a lot about the dirty dozen, but that's just produce. What's going on with grain products ... bread, corn meal, oats, barley ... beer?

Ben P. DaSalt said...

You’ve mentioned the concentration of pesticides of cereals before, much to my dismay.

Makes sense. It would be a surface area thing

Bix said, “What's going on with grain products ... bread, corn meal, oats, barley ... beer?”

La la la, I can’t hear yoooooooouuu!

Beans might fall into this category as well

Ben P. DaSalt said...

Some other thoughts.

I’m generally skeptical of the rise of gluten sensitivity that always seems to extend beyond gluten intolerance where people claim vague un-diagnosable reactions that extend to other grains.

There’s the idea that “we haven’t been eating this type of wheat 50 years ago, “ which has doesn’t really sound all that convincing to me.

But elevated levels of pesticides in causing irritable bowl symptoms in certain individuals? If you were slowly being poisoned wouldn’t obscure symptoms like that arise?

I hate to admit it, but it doesn’t sound to far-fetched.

I’ve always been intrigued by the seemingly sudden rise in allergies. Would pesticide accumulation explain that as well? Pure speculation of course.

I suppose “the canary and the Scotts Miracle-Gro bird seed,” isn’t all the new -- it was the premise of Rachael Carlson’s Silent Spring written way back in 1962.

Bix said...

For crying out loud. The beans.

I suppose this is how pesticides accumulate in livestock. I don't know what's worse, eating the grains, or eating the cow that ate the grains.

Bix said...

I think that's a very reasonable hypothesis ... pesticides contributing to irritable bowel syndrome.

Along those lines ... I also think grains (and grain products) that have been genetically altered to produce pesticide could be contributing.

Anonymous said...

The EPA should be scrapped. It hampers business, what our country was founded on! Too much regulation in this country is sending jobs overseas.

Shreela said...

"Even if a penalty of $73 million -- merely $1 for each poisoned bird food item sold -- was levied against the company, Scotts Miracle-Gro will probably still earn a profit from sales of all their illegal products."

I'm hoping the public backlash fine will shrink their profits considerably!

Dr. Mel said...

I would *really* like to know about pesticide residues in grains and legumes. If you can find that post, it would be great!

Bix said...

There was a 14-grain bread labeled organic that had high levels of a certain pesticide. Now I'm thinking that the grains may have been grown organically, but may have been treated post-harvest.

Claudia said...

There's pesticides in organic bread? Why am I not surprised. people should care more about the regular food most of us eat instead of saying eat organic all the time. Organic is a fools paradise, for those who can afford it!

Dr. Mel said...

I don't think organic is a fool's paradise--Bix's other post on pesticides in grains, etc., makes it clear that organic foods, while not necessarily more full of nutrients, are at least less full of pesticides and other poisons. And places like Trader Joe's make organics actually affordable. Ditto the Giant (supermarket).

Bix said...

I wish all food was organic and we could do away with this distinction, at least.

Dr. Mel said...

Corn that can kill you:

Bix said...

Good article from Mercola. I've read all of it before, down to the immune disturbances from GE corn. That new bit about the kidney cells is interesting. I'm going to look that up.

What gets me is that the FDA says GMOs are not different from non-GMOs. They claim "bioengineering does not make a food inherently different from conventionally produced food."

FDA: "We are not aware of any information that foods developed through genetic engineering differ as a class in quality, safety, or any other attribute from foods developed through conventional means. That's why there has been no requirement to add a special label saying that they are bioengineered."
- FDA Consumer, "Are Bioengineered Foods Safe?", January-February 2000.