Written by The Business Journal Staff
Officials with the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) said this year they will step up enforcement actions against those who violate pesticide licensing laws and potentially endanger people and the environment.
This comes on the heels of a spate of incidents in 2018 in which DPR’s investigations discovered offenders who falsified records and violated other laws designed to ensure that pesticide applicators are properly trained and licensed before offering their services to the public.
The latest case involved a six-month investigation that resulted in a fine of $50,000 for P&L Marketing Inc. of Visalia for the unauthorized possession, reproduction and distribution of parts of DPR licensing exams. The company claims on its website that it offers people a one-day exam preparation class that helps them pass California Agricultural Pesticide License Exams on the first attempt.
After receiving a tip, DPR carried out an investigation and discovered that P&L Marketing was giving material to its students that was similar to the official DPR exam, and more than half of the questions were identical or nearly identical to DPR’s official exam due to be given the next day. The subjects included landscape maintenance, plant agriculture and microbial pest control. Further investigation reportedly revealed that many of the 20-plus exams that were to be given to potential licensees had been compromised.
P&L Marketing admitted to violating California Food and Agricultural Code Section 11792, subdivision (e), which makes it unlawful to cheat or subvert a licensing exam. This includes the unauthorized possession, reproduction or distribution of any portion of the exam. As a result, the company has agreed to pay the fine.