Mar. 22, 2017
A Brazilian judge has banned the sale and use of fungicide Syngenta’s Mertin 400 (fentin hydroxide), citing its misuse among rice growers in the country.
Judge Ramiro Oliveira Cardoso of the Court of Justice in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul has prohibited rice growers in the state from using Mertin 400 in the area, which is the largest producer of the grain. The judge has stipulated R$1 million fine in case it is proved the agrochemical was used on irrigated rice crops. The product is only recommended for diseases on cotton and kidney beans.
The judge’s dispatch said that instead of making the rice growers accountable for the misuse of the fungicide, the sanctions should be imposed on its manufacturer Syngenta. Attending a civil public action, moved by the Public Ministry, the Court of Justice of Rio Grande do Sul banned the commercialization of the fungicide, requiring the company to enforce “effective measures of tracking.”
According to the decision, Syngenta will recall and retrieve all Mertin 400 sold within 60 days. The judge justified that “the maker should not only follow the legal and administrative requirements, but also should do more, such as enforcing measures to track the misuse of the product and eliminate them, as they pose certain risks."
The judge admitted there is “an extraordinary group of producers (of irrigated rice) using the pesticide through false recipe and using the false scientific argument that they will combat the snails.”
The risk, according to the attorney, is that the product (highly persistent in the environment, and can be toxic to fish and other aquatic organism) contaminates the water table and the Jacuí River basin from where the water runs on crops.
Syngenta released a statement saying that it “condemns the irregular use of its technologies.”
“Syngenta clarifies that Mertin 400 is a registered fungicide for the control of diseases on kidney beans and cotton, as it says on the package. The company cannot comment on the judicial action, as it has not been formally notified. Syngenta stresses that it follows the highest ethical and safety standards, follows all the norms related to the production and sale of its products and condemns the irregular use of the technologies. Besides, Syngenta affirms that it promotes best agricultural practices to foster a sustainable agriculture,” the company release read.