On Monday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that, as the result of a settlement agreement, it had levied a $500,000 fine, the maximum penalty, against The Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. for the company’s failure to follow regulations governing Oregon field trials of its glyphosate-tolerant (Roundup-Ready) creeping bentgrass.
The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service alleged that the company did not follow procedures that would have prevented the genetically altered grass and its offspring from escaping the test sites. APHIS has also alleged that the company failed to notify the USDA of the accidental release of the genetically modified material. Since 2004, Scotts has been required to locate and remove any of the glyphosate-tolerant grass that remains in the environment.
Scotts spokesman Jim King says that the company is “very committed to developing the product (Roundup Ready creeping bentgrass),” which the company believes will provide “meaningful economic and environmental benefits to the golf course industry.”
In addition to paying the fine, Scotts is required to present three public workshops focusing on best management practices for genetically modified crops. The workshops will also provide guidance on identification and quick resolution of biotechnology compliance incidents.