Company fined for misleading customers that pesticide could fend off COVID, EPA says

A New Jersey cleaning products supplier was ordered to pay a combined $325,000 in penalties after it mislabeled a pesticide, in part saying it could be effective against COVID-19, the US Environmental Protection Agency announced in a settlement Wednesday.

The fine resulted from the sale of Zoono Microbe Shield by Shrewsbury-based Zoono USA and Zoona Holdings, authorities said. An online description says the product protects surfaces against odor-causing bacteria.

The registered pesticide had “false and misleading claims about its effectiveness and suitability for use as a disinfectant or sanitizer, including against the virus that causes COVID-19,” the summary of the settlement said.

Zoono USA did not immediately respond to NJ Advance Media for comment Wednesday.

“With settlements like these, EPA is making sure that consumers can safely rely on the claims made for pesticides registered by the EPA, while also encouraging regulated entities to come into compliance with critical environmental laws that protect public health,” EPA Regional Administrator Lisa Garcia said in a statement. “We are also committed to guarding against companies taking advantage of the fact that COVID-19 continues to pose a risk and to ensure consumer confidence and protect people’s health.”

The Zoono Microbe Shield spray flagged in the lawsuit was sold on the company’s website and on Amazon, officials said.

“Numerous online purchases were made by individual consumers and institutions — such as community centers — located in areas with potential environmental justice concerns,” officials added. “Significantly, approved uses allowed on Zoono Microbe Shield labeling do not include use as a disinfectant or sanitizer or any public health claims.”

Additional information on where the products were sold in the state was not available.

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Steven Rodas may be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @stevenrodasnj.

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