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US EPA settles with Amazon over illegal pesticide distribution

The US EPA has agreed a settlement with online retailer Amazon over allegations that Amazon committed nearly 4,000 violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). 

The US EPA has agreed a settlement with online retailer Amazon over allegations that Amazon committed nearly 4,000 violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). The alleged offences date back to 2013 and include selling and distributing imported pesticide products that were not licensed for sale in the US.

Amazon will also pay an administrative penalty of some $1.2 million, and develop an online training course on pesticide regulations and policies that the EPA believes will significantly reduce the number of illegal pesticides made available through the online marketplace. The training will be available to the public and online marketers in English, Spanish and Chinese. Successful completion of the training will be mandatory for all entities planning to sell pesticides on Amazon.com.

In late 2014, the EPA began investigating online pesticide product distributions and sales through several internet retail sites including Amazon and third-party sellers that used Amazon’s online marketing platform. In March 2015, the Agency inspected an Amazon facility in Lexington, Kentucky, and its inspectors successfully ordered illegal pesticides from Amazon.com. In August 2015, the EPA issued a FIFRA “stop sale, use, or removal” order against Amazon to prohibit the sale of the illegal pesticide products. The EPA issued another stop sale order against Amazon in January 2016 after discovering that certain unregistered or misbranded insecticide bait products were being offered for sale on Amazon.com.

After receiving the stop sale orders, Amazon immediately removed the products from the marketplace, prohibited foreign sellers from selling pesticides, and co-operated with the EPA during its subsequent investigation. The orders, as well as the EPA’s subsequent engagement with the company, prompted Amazon to more aggressively monitor its website for illegal pesticides. In October 2016, Amazon notified all customers who purchased the illegal pesticides between 2013 and 2016 to communicate safety concerns with these products and urge disposal. Amazon also refunded those customers the cost of the products, at approximately $130,000.

 

 

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