Maine-et-Loire: an agricultural company condemned for the intoxication of around sixty people after the spreading of a pesticide in 2018

The sanction fell five years later. The Primaloire agricultural company was sentenced, Monday, May 22, to a fine of 50,000 euros by the Angers criminal court for the intoxication of around sixty people in Brain-sur-l’Authion (Maine-et-Loire). ) in 2018 after the application of a pesticide.

In September 2018, a first spraying of metam-sodium, a pesticide-herbicide-fungicide, on the Primaloire company’s lamb’s lettuce plots, had inconvenienced high school students in Narcé. Fifteen days later, a second spreading had caused the intoxication of around sixty people, mainly agricultural workers from companies neighboring Primaloire. Seventeen people had been hospitalized at the Angers University Hospital, where the white plan had been triggered.

“We have the impression of having in front of us sorcerer’s apprentices who have played with people’s lives”

More than 70 complaints had been filed for unintentional injuries following poisoning with this pesticide, which has since been banned by the health authorities. Two managers of the company and the agricultural worker in charge of the spreading were judged Monday by the criminal court of Angers for inappropriate use of a phytopharmaceutical product and involuntary injuries. At the hearing, it was established that the highly regulated use of metam-sodium had not been respected.

“It is a toxic product and there are negligence. You are not on a desert island but near a high school, near homes and precautions are not taken. There were four or five failures”summarized the president of the court Emmanuelle Carbonnel. “We have the impression of having in front of us sorcerer’s apprentices who have played with people’s lives”, slammed Maitre Aude de la Celle, lawyer for two intoxicated workers. For the defence, Maître Pascale Eon-Gavory assured that her clients “acknowledge(have) all the facts” and had “became aware of the extent of the damage of each of the victims”. The agricultural worker was sentenced to a suspended fine of 10,000 euros.

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