EDMONTON — A national pest control company has been fined $150,000 for breaking Alberta and federal laws for how it fumigated a Calgary flour mill for insects with a toxic pesticide.
The Alberta government says Orkin Canada Corporation is to pay the fines after pleading guilty to charges under Alberta’s Environmental Protection Act and the federal Pest Control Products Act.
An agreed statement of facts says Orkin staff set pouches of Magtoxin — which creates a toxic gas — in the closed mill in January 2015.
The label on Magtoxin clearly states that the pesticide must not contaminate processed food or feed and must be retrieved before starting a food processing line.
The following day, the mill was ventilated to remove the vapours and Orkin staff were supposed to remove all of the pesticide.
But mill staff later found spent containers of the pesticide in mill machinery and Orkin couldn’t account for all of the packages of Magtoxin that were used.
No one was hurt, but the government said the pest control company failed to report what happened.
“At no point did Orkin report the incident to Alberta Environment,” said the Alberta provincial court document released Thursday. “Orkin employees said they were not aware of an obligation to report this type of incident.”
Mill managers decided to run the mill to flush out any remaining pesticide from the machinery and dump any flour in case it contained any Magtoxin.
But a few days later, staff found another 33 packets of the pesticide and the mill was flushed again.
The statement of facts says staff found a total of 120 packets of Magtoxin in the mill.
The mill, which is not named, did not begin producing flour for sale again until managers were satisfied it was safe.
“There is no evidence that any flour contaminated with pesticide was sold to consumers or that any person was harmed by the Magtoxin,” reads the document.