Hunte Corp Fined for Chemical Violation

December 22, 2009 at 8:13 am Leave a comment

Apparently profits in mass-produced maltipoos and cockadoodles aren’t what they used to be.  According to an EPA administrative consent agreement Hunte willfully acted in violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act.  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Hunte Kennel Systems and Animal Care will pay nearly $57,000 in fines for putting livestock pesticides in bottles and relabeling mislabeling it to sell as a discontinued flea and tick treatment for dogs.

Prolate/Lintox-HD is used to control flies, mites, mange and ticks on livestock but is not for use on household pets.  Paramite was used to control fleas and ticks on dogs. It was voluntarily taken off the market in 2005 after the Environmental Protection Agency determined its active ingredient was potentially dangerous to animal handlers, groomers and young children, said EPA spokesman Chris Whitley.

Paramite and prolate both contain the same active ingredient, the organophosphate insecticide phosmet.  Organophosphates kill insects by disrupting activity in their brains and nervous systems.  These neurotoxins can also inflict nasty adverse effects on mammals (like humans) – hence their early use as chemical warfare agents.

Toxic or not – what’s the problem if prolate and paramite both have the same active ingredient?  Well… pet products containing phosmet were voluntarily taken off the market back in 2005 after the EPA found they posed an unacceptable risk of dermal toxicity to people who came in contact with treated animals.

Since most of us don’t snuggle or sleep with our pigs and cattle, EPA apparently determined that human dermal toxicity wasn’t an issue in treating livestock, so organophosphates can still legally be used to control fleas, lice and mange on them.

For some reason, the Post-Dispatch seems to think that the mislabeling of the product is the key issue in Hunte’s case.  I think there’s more to it than that, and I can’t help but wonder how many Hunte dogs and puppies were treated with the product.  While it’s currently illegal to produce paramite — it’s not illegal to sell or use it.  I found several places on the web that note that remaining inventories of the product can legally be sold until supplies run out and apparently some veterinarians  still use stockpiled phosmet/paramite to treat severe mite infestations in dogs.

It looks like Hunte found a cheap way to treat their puppies products for fleas and ticks and decided to make a few extra bucks on the side while they were at it.  While they’ve been forced to stop selling illegally relabeled phosmet-containing products to others – the $57,000-dollar question is whether they’ve quit using it to treat their own animals…

The phosmet molecule

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Entry filed under: cynicism, dogs, health, pets. Tags: .

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