EPA fines Safeway $675,000
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has fined Safeway Inc. $675,000 for selling unregistered household cleaning products at its Hawaii and California stores, the agency reported yesterday.
The labels claimed the products disinfect and remove mold and mildew, which would require their registration as pesticides with the EPA. The cited products were not registered with the EPA.
According to the EPA:
» In 2005 a Hawaii Department of Agriculture inspector found Safeway Heavy Duty Toilet Bowl Cleaner being sold at a Safeway store on Kauai, with a label claim that it "disinfects." The EPA alleges that Safeway sold this product in its stores throughout Northern California and Hawaii.
» In 2006 a California Department of Pesticide Regulations inspector found a second product, Safeway Liquid Cleanser with Bleach, being sold at a Vons store in Grover Beach, Calif., claiming it "removes mold and mildew." The Vons Companies Inc. is a subsidiary of Safeway.
Safeway spokeswoman Teena Massingill said the problem was "purely a labeling issue." She said Safeway "switched to a supplier that produced cleaners without pesticides," but kept using older labels until shortly after the problem was spotted by inspectors.