Organic Farmer Wins $1 Million Suit Over Pesticide Contamination - Organic Food News Today - News Media Monitoring: Organic Farmer Wins $1 Million Suit Over Pesticide Contamination
December 27, 2010
EINNEWS, December 27---A California court has upheld a $1 million award to a farmer who claimed his organic crop was contaminated by pesticides from a neighboring farm.
Larry Jacobs, president of Jacobs Farm/Del Cobo, fought a four year battle to win compensation for organic dill that tested positive for pesticides and was turned down by Whole Foods.
Jacobs has a 120-acre herb farm north of Santa Cruz. Pesticides applied in liquid form to a nearby Brussels sprouts crop apparently migrated to Jacobs' dill.
California's Sixth Appellate District Court upheld Jacobs' right to sue the pesticide applicator, Western Farm Service and the court let stand the $1 awarded him by a jury two years ago.
The decision is significant, say agriculture and law experts, because it strengthens the case for organic farmers or anyone else harmed by pesticides to seek legal recourse — even if the pesticide, as it was here, is legally applied.
While state law restricts pesticides from being sprayed on neighboring properties, which is known as pesticide drift, the law doesn't deal specifically with pesticides that disperse into the air after application and end up someplace else.
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