09/11/2013 08:23 pm ET Updated Sep 13, 2013

Whole Foods Is Selling Unregistered Pesticides, California Lawsuit Claims


Update: Whole Foods emailed The Huffington Post on Friday with the following comment:

These products have not yet been determined to be “pesticides.” Whole Foods Market has already voluntarily provided the California Department of Pesticide Regulation with abundant information over a four-year period to help the California Department of Pesticide Regulation with its investigation. The company looks forward to its opportunity to address this matter in front of a judge.

The market that touts itself as "America's healthiest grocery store" has been breaching California pesticide codes, the state says.

California is suing Whole Foods Market, claiming that the company is selling products containing pesticides not registered with the state. The four products in question are all pet products and repellants: Enviroman Bugs R Done insect spray, Natural Pine Pellets cat litter, Purely Botanical cat flea spray and Purely Botanical dog flea spray.

Charlotte Fadipe, Assistant Director of Communications for the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, told The Huffington Post that to sell a pesticide product in stores, a company must register it with the state so that it can be tested and approved for safe use.

"What we're saying to Whole Foods is, 'You are selling unregistered pesticides that we all use on our family pets, that therefore we're bringing into our homes, and by law, you have to register it as a pesticide and have not been doing so,'" Fadipe said. "We cannot say that this product is safe."

Whole Foods told HuffPost that it could not comment on pending legal issues.

Fadipe, however, said that this has been an ongoing issue with the grocery store and that they will be investigating Whole Foods for a range of products they believe are unregistered and being sold in their California locations.

"This is not a shock to Whole Foods," she said. "We just think they should follow the law like everybody else. It's a matter of creating a level playing field."



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