2017 - 15 workers sick due to negligence

US: Santa Cruz County penalizes firms in pesticide incident

Los Amigos Harvesting, which had a worker accused of exposing 15 nearby raspberry harvesters to harmful pesticides on June 29, 2017, owes Santa Cruz County $56,000. It is the largest fine issued by Agricultural Commissioner Juan Hidalgo in his 13 years of service.

Hidalgo is fining Los Amigos Harvesting with the hefty fine following an investigation that stated the firm violated several state agricultural regulations when it released fungicides and insecticides that drifted onto a nearby farm.

Hidalgo said in an interview: "The actions that the pesticide applicator took were really negligent." His office is fining a second firm, FMG Farm Contractor, $1,250 for failing to seek prompt medical attention for employees exposed to the pesticides.

According to kqed.org, Los Amigos Harvesting’s spokesman said the company seeks a hearing to review the commissioner’s findings. It wants to present information the company considers accurate. The company, through its spokesman, said it plans to dispute the county’s investigation.

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