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Fines levied in California for selling banned peach pesticide

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The current battles being waged across the state of California over pesticides continue to grow, most notably in regards to the embattled strawberry industry. But it's not just strawberries, as it was announced this week that a pair of pesticides dealers in the San Joaquin Valley have been fined $105,000 for selling an unauthorized pesticide to peach farmers.

As reported by the New Farm Press, Gar Tootelian Inc, and Britz-Simplot Grower Solutions LLC, were charged $60,000 and $45,000, respectively, for selling pesticide Comite in Fresno and Tulare counties. Gar Tootelian was charged with the practice from 2008 through 2010, Britz-Simplot from 2009 through 2010.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency banned the use of Comite on peaches back in 1996 for being a potential carcinogen to fish and amphibians.

“Our investigation found that dealers who employ pest control advisers sold the product to growers who did not produce any field crops on which the product could legally be used,” said Department of Pesticide Regulation Director Brian R. Leahy to the Farm Press. “Dealers are licensed by DPR and responsible for knowing and complying with pesticide laws. Their compliance with these laws is critical to ensure the safety of the public, workers and our food supply.”

As a result of the pesticide’s usage, 24 million pounds of peaches worth more than an estimated $1.1 million were recalled in 2010.