X v. Agricultural company Primaloire

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Final judgment
France, Angers

Individuals, Neighbours
Aude de la Celle, François Lafforgue, Philippe de Castro

Criminal court
Herbicide, Metam sodium
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Correctional Court of Angers, France

May 22, 2023
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On May 22, 2023, the Angers Correctional Court sentenced the Primaloire agricultural company to a fine of 50,000 euros for the poisoning of around 70 people as a result of the spraying of a metam sodium-based pesticide in Brain-sur-l'Authion, which it used for its lamb's lettuce crop. The company had not complied with the conditions governing the use of metam sodium.

On September 28, 2018, a first spraying of metam-sodium had upset high school students in Narcé. On October 12, some sixty workers at Primaloire's neighboring companies were also poisoned by a second spraying operation. Following this, the French government had decided to ban all uses of complete formulations based on "metam" or "metam-sodium" by an order dated October 25, 2018.

The two managers, the company's legal entity and the farm employee were found guilty of inappropriate use of the pesticide and unintentional injury causing injuries without and with work incapacity (ITT) of less than three months. The employee received a suspended fine of 10,000 euros. The association Générations Futures, which had sued for damages, received 600 euros for moral prejudice and 600 euros for legal costs.