Certified pesticide-free products? Former CFO says it ain’t so.
Fired executive sues Eurofresh
By David Wichner
Arizona Daily Star
A former executive of Willcox-based Eurofresh Inc. has sued the greenhouse-tomato grower in a California court, alleging he was wrongfully fired for refusing to go along with illegal use of pesticides and other chemicals.
Eurofresh said there is no truth to the allegations and that the company will fight the suit.
In the state lawsuit filed in Monterey County, Calif., former Eurofresh Chief Financial Officer Brian McLaughlin said he was fired after objecting to what he called the company’s longtime practice of using unregistered pesticides and chemical growth regulators on its hydroponically grown crops.
Eurofresh, which markets its products as Eurofresh Farms, is a leading U.S. grower of fresh greenhouse tomatoes. It operates one of the largest greenhouse complexes in the world, growing tomatoes and cucumbers in more than 300 acres under glass near Willcox and at a smaller Arizona operation in Snowflake.
The company has in the past called its produce “certified pesticide-free” and has won marketing and workplace awards in part based on such claims.
But McLaughlin – CFO of Eurofresh from April 2008 to November 2009 – alleges that from the start of operations in 1992 until September 2009, Eurofresh achieved its competitive advantage in part by deliberately using “at least 15 unregistered, and therefore unlawful, chemicals and pesticides to enhance the company’s tomato crops grown for human consumption.”
Eurofresh founder and CEO Johan van den Berg said in a prepared statement that McLaughlin’s allegations are false.
Read the full post at Arizona Daily Star