Birds are singing a happy tune after a doleful disaster. Last Friday, Scotts Miracle-Gro, the company best known for greening lawns across America, was fined $12.5 million for violating the EPA’s pesticide laws: The company illegally applied insecticides to its wild bird food products—insecticides, it turns out, that are toxic to birds. It also falsified pesticide registration documents and distributed pesticides with misleading and unapproved labels.
The chemicals that laced the bird food—Actellic 5E and Storcide II—were apparently used to ward off insects during storage. This use, however, is prohibited by the EPA. From 2005 to 2008, the company sold more than 70 million units of the bird food, branded as Morning Song and Country Pride. Scotts eventually recalled the products in March 2008.