HI Farm Fined for Worker Protection Violations


HONOLULU – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced a settlement with Wonder Farm, Inc. over alleged misuse of pesticides and violations of worker safety regulations at its basil farm in Waianae, Oahu. Under the agreement, the company will pay a $26,700 penalty.

The Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) discovered the violations during inspections conducted between 2012 and 2015, and referred the case to EPA. Inspectors found the company out of compliance with EPA’s Worker Protection Standard, which aims to reduce the risk of pesticide poisoning and injury among agricultural workers and pesticide handlers.

The investigation found the company had failed to:

  • Provide workers with information necessary for their safety regarding pesticide applications, including the location of the treated area, the product used, active ingredients, time of application, and any restrictions to entry.
  • Ensure that its workers and handlers had received pesticide safety training.
  • Post pesticide safety information in a central location after pesticides had been applied.
  • Ensure handlers used the required protective clothing, such as waterproof gloves and eyewear.

Inspectors also found Wonder Farm had applied several pesticide products containing the active ingredients malathion, carbaryl, and dimethoate to its basil crops. Those active ingredients are not authorized for use on basil.

In addition, Wonder Farm failed to follow pesticide label instructions that set the approved application and frequency rate on crops, failed to properly clean leftover, non-refillable pesticide containers, and improperly used pesticides for cleaning spray tanks.

EPA regulations for pesticide labels ensure they contain critical information about how to safely and legally handle and use the pesticide products.