Friday, February 24, 2006
Tomato giant Ag-Mart couldn't be in bigger trouble in North Carolina
for alleged pesticide violations that may have caused birth defects in three field workers' children, but the state ag department says it's powerless to ensure that the company shapes up. The state's biggest fines only amount to a slap on the wrist for big growers, and the understaffed department doesn't have the resources to police conditions on the ground.
When Ag-Mart's fields were inspected last April, department officials found the state's worst-ever violations, including workers lacking training and protective gear, and workers in freshly-treated fields that were supposed to be avoided for at least seven days for safety.
EWG's work on pesticides is available here.