Monsanto Co. has agreed to plead guilty to using a banned pesticide on corn seed and research crops at its Valley Farm facility in Kihei, Maui, and will pay $10 million in fines and penalties.
The company admitted that it illegally sprayed Penncap-M, whose active ingredient is methyl parathion, at its Maui facility in 2014, according to court documents filed in U.S. District Court in Honolulu. Use of the pesticide was prohibited after 2013.
The company also told employees to re-enter the sprayed fields seven days afterward, even though they should not have been allowed to enter for 31 days, according to a news release from the Department of Justice.
In addition, Monsanto admitted to transporting and storing the pesticide in violation of federal law on Maui and at its Molokai facility.
Under a deferred prosecution agreement related to two felony counts of unlawfully storing an acute hazardous waste, the company will pay a $6 million criminal fine and $4 million in community service payments to several Hawaii government entities.
“The illegal conduct in this case posed a threat to the environment, surrounding communities and Monsanto workers,” said U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna. “Federal laws and regulations impose a clear duty on every user of regulated and dangerous chemicals to ensure the products are safely stored, transported and used.”
Bayer AG, a German chemical company, acquired Monsanto for $63 billion in 2018.