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Four Lawsuits Allege Scotts Miracle-Gro Sold Toxic Bird Seed

Aug 24, 2012 | Parker Waichman LLP

Lawn care giant Scotts Miracle-Gro is facing lawsuits filed in separate courts across the country that it knowingly sold bird seed contaminated with two pesticides that are toxic to birds.

According to a report at, one of the lawsuits filed against Scott’s seeks $5 million in damages. Lawsuits have been filed in Illinois and California and the most recent plaintiffs to file a class-action suit against the popular purveyor of consumer and industrial lawn care products like grass seed and potting soil are looking to have their complaints consolidated in a federal court with other lawsuits.

In them, they claim Scott’s marketed 93 types bird seed that contained the pesticides Storcide II and Actellic 5E. Some of the names these products are marketed as include Country Pride, Scott's Songbird Selections, Morning Song, and Scott's Wild Bird Food. These pesticides, the claims state, have never been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency to be included in bird seed.

Scott’s contends the pesticides Storcide II and Actellic 5E are included in its bird seed mixtures “to prevent insect infestation of the feed grains during storage,” according to the complaint.

The classes of Plaintiffs seeking damages from Scott’s point to the EPA labels on the pesticide Storcide II that specifically states that it should not get exposed to seeds used to feed birds and other animals. The label states the pesticide is “extremely toxic to fish and toxic to birds and other wildlife.”

The lawsuits also claim that Scott’s own employees have warned the company that using Storcide II and Actellic 5E in its bird seed mixtures would have toxic consequences but the company continued to sell them at the wholesale and consumer level for years. Bags of this bird feed usually sold at retail stores across the country for between $10 and $40.

It was not until 2008 that Scott’s finally recalled these bird seed products from the market but in doing so, remained aloof on the details behind the recall and it only included certain products, not all feeds.

Earlier this year, the report adds, Scott’s settled charges filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Ohio. One of those charges included claims made in these class-action lawsuits that the company knowingly sold bird seed products that were contaminated with pesticides the federal government had specifically banned for use on products meant to feed birds and wildlife

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