The US Department of Pesticide Regulation has fined a small Central Coast grower $15,000, destroyed four tons of fruit, and shutdown the grower’s production for three months. Fruit from the operation was found to have restricted pesticide residue. DPR’s Pesticide Residue Monitoring System detected the material methomyl on strawberries during a routine inspection last September in Fresno.
DPR Director Val Dolcini: “This action will serve as a strong deterrent to anyone who violates California’s pesticide rules and regulations. Continued partnership and strict enforcement of these laws by DPR and local County Agricultural Commissioners will ensure pesticides are applied responsibly, legally, and in total compliance with labeling requirements.”
Aside from the enforcement on the Santa Barbara County grower who grew the fruit, the investigation also led DPR and the Santa Barbara County Agricultural Commissioner to neighboring operations. An adjacent grower was also fined a total of $5,000 for pesticide violations. DPR stated in the release that the investigation found two operations unlawfully packed, shipped, and sold produce containing pesticide residue above the permissible level. DPR added the county is carrying out its own investigation, which may determine additional violations.