The former head of the BC Fruit Growers’ Association has been fined by Health Canada for using an unregistered pest control product.
Kirpal Singh Boparai violated the Pest Control Products Act by using Guthion 50 WSB in his cherry orchard back in August of 2015.
The violation cost Boparai $4,000.
According to Health Canada Guthion 50 WSB was re-evaluated in 2012 to be ‘of unacceptable risk to agricultural workers’. The product Guthion 50 WSB contains azinphos-methyl registrations which expired on or before December 31, 2012.
However Boparai says he had no idea the pest control product had recently been deemed unregistered and was a risk to his workers.
“We’ve been using this product for the last 20 years, and it got phased out,” he explained. “The whole Okanagan Valley used to use this product.”
That led the former BCFGA president to wonder what harm had been caused in the past to workers and if it was investigated by Health Canada.
He says he never used the product on his fruit, his cherries were already picked at the time.
“I thought we could use it if the fruit was off, they said no because it was discontinued,” Bopari said. “They (Health Canada) told me to dispose of it, so we did and then we followed the protocol and regulations.”
Boparai claims his workers were not in the orchard at the time the product was used because the fruit had already been picked; therefore it was not a hazard to the employees.
“The workers get to come and go, but I live (on the property) there 24/7. Why would I use something harmful to myself? If I knew it was bad I never would would have used it.”
Use of Guthion 50 WSB is reported to cause nausea, lethargy and headaches in those who administer the product.