Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. was ordered yesterday to stop selling and using products that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said contain two “illegal and unregistered” herbicides.
The Marysville-based lawn and garden company said yesterday that it agreed to a national recall of products containing these herbicides. They were used in a commercial fertilizer and in a consumer product sold under the name “Miracle-Gro Shake ‘n’ Feed With Weed Preventer All Purpose Plant Food.”
EPA officials said they still are working to determine what’s in the herbicides, how long they’ve been on the market, how widely they were distributed and how many brand names they were sold under.
The consumer products can be identified by the registration number 62355-4 on their labels. The commercial fertilizer, which was used by Scotts Lawn Service under different names, bore the registration number 538-304.
“We’re asking people to look for these numbers on multiple products,” said Margaret Guerriero, director of the EPA’s land and chemicals division in Chicago.
The agency is asking consumers not to use these products or throw them away until Scotts officials devise a way for the products to be safely returned.
Jim King, a Scotts spokesman, said the recall will affect more than 1 million units of Miracle Gro Shake ‘n’ Feed and cost the company $5 million to $10 million. He said the registration number doesn’t appear on other consumer products the company sells.
King also said the company doesn’t think a recall of the commercial fertilizer is needed because it was never for sale and it was used only by the Scotts Lawn Service company.
He said the company does not think the herbicides pose a risk to people’s health or the environment. He said they were “very similar” to other EPA-approved products that the company sells.
Scotts has $2.9 billion in annual sales and has expanded into international markets, consumer lawn service, birdseed and a chain of stores selling garden products. The company employs 6,000 people worldwide, including about 1,000 in Marysville.
Federal law requires that all pesticides and herbicides be submitted to the EPA for review and registration before they are sold to make sure they don’t pose a risk to humans or the environment. The review process can take months to years.
Guerriero said the registration numbers Scotts used don’t exist. That leaves the company open to fines of up to $6,500 for each shipment of herbicides it made to stores and its lawn service.
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