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Chiquita Bananas Is Being Sued for Allegedly Polluting Local Drinking Water

Chiquita Bananas Is Being Sued for Allegedly Polluting Local Drinking Water

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A lawsuit alleges that Chiquita bBananas’ environmental standards in Guatemala aren’t as up to snuff as they claim

The bananas may look bright and yellow, but the lawsuit claims that Chiquita’s environmental disposition isn’t so sunny.

Chiquita bananas — one of the most recognizable fruit brands worldwide — could be in serious legal trouble. Chiquita is being sued by a consumer who alleges that the company, which claims to be environmentally friendly, is contaminating the local drinking supply in Guatemala, where they grow most of their bananas.

"Chiquita promised its customers it follows 'strict standards' of eco-friendly production including practices that ‘conserve wildlife habitats, national resources, and promote community wellbeing,’ yet its business practices have wreaked havoc on local communities where it grows and harvests its produce," said Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman, the law company that filed the lawsuit on behalf of plaintiff Justin Jablonowski, in a statement. “Chiquita knew that consumers valued environmentally sound production methods, and used its deceptive marketing to cover up its foul production methods.”

The lawsuit, which was filed in February, claims that Chiquita has failed to disclose that their bananas are produced through methods that contaminate water supplies, and that they have allegedly violated the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act, the California Unfair Competition Law, and California Common Law in doing so.

This is not the first time that Chiquita has gone to court: in 2013, the brand was sued for allegedly having financial ties to Colombian guerilla paramilitary groups. The case was eventually thrown out by the courts.

The Daily Meal has contacted Chiquita but has not received a response.

Ethical Food Choices

For many people, it can be quite overwhelming to realize just how much suffering and injustice goes into the familiar products that line our store shelves. Whether it’s the abuse of animals, the exploitation of workers, the failure to offer healthy foods, environmental devastation, or all of the above, there can be a temptation to throw up our hands in defeat and conclude that it’s just not possible to make ethical food choices.

We understand that impulse, and it truly does feel overwhelming at times, for everyone. It’s our hope that the resources on this website will help make these choices easier for you. The fact that the problems loom large surely doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do what we can to address them. And, armed with knowledge about the issues, we can do quite a lot through the choices we make.

One of the easiest things we can do is to identify particularly “bad actors” in the corporate world, so we know what products and companies to absolutely avoid. With that in mind, the following are a few examples worth highlighting.

Even among companies with egregious environmental and worker’s rights records, Coca-Cola stands out. [1]

In India, Coke unlawfully pumped 1.5 million liters (400,000 gallons) of water a day from local reserves, leaving farmers without enough water to irrigate their crops, and draining the community’s drinking water supply. The company also contaminated fields, wells, and canals in the process – leading to widespread misery and community upheaval [2] — and have sought to mislead investors about the environmental consequences. [3] The world’s largest beverage company, Coke used 283 billion liters (73.5 billion gallons) of water in 2004 … a fact put into perspective when remembering that we live in “a world where over 1 billion people cannot meet their basic water needs.” [4]

In China, separate investigative reports [5] have found a shocking range and systemic pattern of workers’ rights abuses at Coke facilities. These include providing inadequate (or no) protective equipment, an excessive use of so-called “dispatch labor” [6] to avoid standard employer obligations (similar to “employee misclassification” in the U.S. [7] ), forced overtime, having workers sign blank contracts, refusal of back-pay, and the denial of the right to unionize. Workers who have protested their treatment were rewarded with beatings from supervisors.

In Colombia [8] and Guatemala [9] , there is a long, documented history of anti-union activities [10] at bottling plants on par with the worst episodes in labor history anywhere. This includes the intimidation, kidnapping, rape, torture, and murder of labor organizers and their loved ones, often via paramilitary forces in collaboration with local management [11] . Union-busting efforts in Pakistan have included extortion, blackmail, abduction, and death threats. [12] Workers in the Philippines report vast labor abuses, as well. [13]

In El Salvador, Coke’s sugar suppliers have been caught using child labor in the fields [14] .

In Mexico, Coke has engaged in a range of predatory activities. To name just a few, their aggressive retaliation against whistleblowers and massive fraud [15] , their standard over-exploitation of water resources [16] , and aggressive marketing of their product to school children and the rural poor (by some counts, 80% of Mexican schools lack decent access to water). [17]

The scope of these abuses is staggering and difficult to process, but one thing is clear: Anyone concerned with issues of worker justice, environmental responsibility, and the integrity of local communities worldwide should avoid Coca-Cola and its products. [18]

The Swiss corporation Nestlé is the world’s largest food and beverages company, with a net profit in 2011 of 9.5 billion Swiss francs ($10.35 billion). [19] It produces iconic products like Nesquik chocolate powder and syrup, as well as Nescafe, Nestea, and popular candies like Baby Ruth, Butterfingers, and Kit-Kat. All told, Nestlé owns more than 6,000 brands worldwide, in markets ranging from “petcare” to infant formula. [20]

Nestlé got its start in 1905 by developing a cow-milk formula for babies whose mothers couldn’t nurse over a century later, its use and marketing remain controversial. While it’s well established that breast milk provides numerous health advantages for infants, including protection against infection and disease, Nestlé has aggressively and specifically marketed its formula to some of the most vulnerable communities in the world. [21] This promotion is dangerous to public health because formula must be mixed with water (often either contaminated or in short supply in many countries) and requires sanitation protocols that could easily be misunderstood or difficult to achieve (leading to diarrhea and other life-threatening symptoms for the very young).

Such marketing also flies in the face of the 1981 World Health Organization’s International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes (PDF), which prohibits ads for formula with “pictures or text (…) which may idealize the use of infant formula” and give the impression that formula is safer or more nutritious, stipulating that all such products should inform the public that breastfeeding is best. These are mandates that Nestlé has violated for decades.

Instead, Nestlé has a robust internet presence specially tailored to sell its infant products across the globe, including extensive multi-lingual translations of ads, superimposed on invariably light-skinned babies, to boost its worldwide sales. As International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) documents, Nestlé formula is advertised in Lithuanian magazine ads, and provided free of charge in Bulgaria. A leaflet distributed in Botswana claims that by using Nestlé formula “diarrhoea and its side effects are counteracted,” without mentioning the risks of unsafe water. In Thailand and South Africa, Nestlé has directly given out samples to new mothers, provided health facilities with free supplies, promoted formula to pregnant women and mothers in health facilities, and distributed gift packets to obstetricians, pediatricians, nurses, and general health workers. In Armenia and Indonesia, special displays and posters in grocery stores promote Nestlé formula. The company has given out special branded baby suits and distributes “prescription” forms to clinics for new mothers to take to the store in return, doctors receive a 10% commission when their patient purchases the formula. In China, Nestlé sends sales reps to shops and supermarkets and donates infant formula to hospitals.

Like fellow beverage giant Coca-Cola, Nestlé uses vast quantities of limited water supplies. It has taken full advantage of water privatization trends around the world, including in the U.S. It has drained aquifers, employed price-gauging tactics, and polarized communities. The production, distribution, and packaging of its brands of plastic-bottled water – Arrowhead Springs, Calistoga, and Poland Spring – also come with an enormous environmental cost.

The chocolate the company uses for its ubiquitous candies is among the most unethical available. Sourced from West Africa, particularly Cote d’Ivoire [22] , its harvesting relies heavily on child labor [23] . This is unsurprising, given its abuses of worker’s rights elsewhere in the world [24] . A lawsuit in California, filed by International Rights Advocates, implicates Nestlé, along with agribusiness giants Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland, in the trafficking of Malian children to Cote d’Ivoire to work on cocoa farms.

Nestlé’s subsidiaries have considerably ugly stories of their own to tell. For instance, the company also has a significant stake in the “pet” food market, second only to Mars, Inc. in market share worldwide. Nestlé brands include Puppy Chow, Purina One, Fancy Feast, Alpo, Beneful, and Friskies. [25] All of these brands have engaged in animal testing. For instance, a paper presented at the 2011 Nestlé Purina Veterinary Symposium details how healthy puppies were infected with canine distemper virus, then fed a probiotic to compare results to a test group a similar study was later performed with cats. [26] It is a particularly sad irony that some animals are tortured to produce food products for other animals. This is often done simply to enable companies to boast that products are “New and Improved.” Even the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has called for the “the development of new methods that could reduce or replace animal testing.” [27]

For all of these reasons, Food Empowerment Project recommends that consumers avoid Nestlé products.

It’s hard to overstate the influence that Monsanto, the chemical and agricultural sciences giant, has had over the food we’ve eaten in the last hundred years. [28] One of the largest corporations in the world and a mainstay of the Forbes 500, the company is effectively a gatekeeper to the global food supply. [29]

Beginning the 20th century as a pure chemicals company (producing, among other things, the food additive saccharin [30] , supplied to a fledgling Coca-Cola), Monsanto has had a hand in everything from plastics to digital optics. In the 1930s, it began producing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) for industrial use as lubricants, coatings, and sealants PCBs are also carcinogens associated with reproductive, developmental, and immune system disorders [31] . Dioxin, a cancer-causing byproduct of PCB production, is very much still with us, and remains a concern for workers, farmers, communities, and consumers [32] . People who consume animal products are at greatest risk: according to a 2003 National Academies of Science report, “animal fat in the diet accounts for close to 90% of dioxin exposure in the United States.” [33]

Monsanto’s “life sciences” arms are most associated with insecticides, herbicides, and defoliants, as well as genetically modified organisms. The company manufactured some of the most infamous chemicals that exist, including DDT (notably profiled in Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring and banned in the US in 1972) [34] and the defoliant known as Agent Orange, which killed at least half a million people in Southeast Asia, sickened millions more [35] and left a poisonous legacy that impacts local communities to this day. [36]

The company also developed and manufactures bovine growth hormone (rBGH), which has contributed enormously to animal suffering and led to such environmental and public health concerns that it has been banned outright in many places outside the U.S., including Japan, Canada, and the European Union. [37] In order to combat the financially undesirable (and horrifically painful) infections that rBGH and similar hormones cause for cows raised for milk, farmers have dramatically increased the amounts of antibiotics they use. [38] Today, farmed animals consume 80% of the antibiotics sold in the U.S. [39]

Monsanto is one of the most aggressive forces pushing for genetically modified organisms. Alongside acquiring patents for products like Calgene’s FlavrSavr tomato (the first genetically modified food reviewed and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for human consumption [40] ), it has patented numerous GMO seed lines, aggressively marketed them worldwide, attacked traditional methods of seed-saving, and both threatened and sued farmers. [41] It has also patented “Terminator seeds,” which can be planted only once, compelling farmers to buy a new supply every year instead of saving seeds from previous seasons.

Roundup, the world’s most used herbicide, and “Roundup Ready” seeds provide a similar insight into Monsanto’s corporate philosophy. After developing and distributing the highly toxic (and lucrative) chemical, Monsanto genetically engineered Roundup Ready seeds, which are specifically resistant to it. This has led not only to large amounts of Roundup being used in the first place, but to “superweeds” that have developed resistances of their own. [42] There are also concerns about possible gene migration to non-GMO crops [43] , effects on the health of humans and wildlife [44] , and the basic fact that a single company produces both an extremely toxic herbicide and patented seeds tailored to resist it.

Given that it is, at root, a chemicals company, it’s no surprise that Monsanto has engaged in horrific animal testing, including contracting tests out to the notorious Huntingdon Life Sciences. It has also had activists opposed to its business practices surveilled, hiring a subsidiary of the military firm Blackwater to conduct intelligence operations on animal rights and environmental groups. [45]

Given the vast reach of its products, and the scope of its ambitions, Monsanto differs from other companies profiled here. It’s relatively easy to avoid buying Coca-Cola products, for instance, which are generally non-essential junk foods anyway. When a corporation controls most of the world’s corn, it is more difficult to avoid. Complicating matters further, Monsanto also owns a vast network of subsidiaries, many of which, unlike their parent company, market and sell organic and vegan products. [46]

Rather than conceding victory to Monsanto on the basis of its market share, however, there are a few things we can do. Avoiding Monsanto subsidiaries, to whatever degree we can, is essential, and simply going vegan will already eliminate your participation with many of those products. Whenever possible, we can also support local, organic farmers through CSAs and farmer’s markets or even grow our own food.

These acts may seem small, but they are powerful. At the same time, Monsanto’s dominance over the world’s food systems – that is, peoples’ access to food worldwide, our ability to produce it, the integrity of local agriculture, and even what constitutes “food” in the first place – requires organized and sustained activism on many fronts. There are efforts afoot to legally require the labeling of GMOs, and many coalitions of concerned people have been confronting Monsanto head-on.

Palm oil, an edible oil derived from the pulp of fruits of the oil palm, is used in margarine, shortening, cooking oil, soups, sauces, crackers, and other baked goods. After soybean oil, it is the world’s most widely used oil. In the U.S., palm oil is used primarily in processed foods and often in combination with the more familiar soy and canola varieties. [47]

The plantations on which palm oil is produced have required a tremendous amount of deforestation and fostered significant injustice. In Indonesia, more than 27,000 square miles are devoted to supplying the palm oil market, with a huge increase – nearly 11 million tons – between 2000 and 2009. This expansion includes tropical lowland forests and could realistically wipe out entire species. [48] The story is similar in Malaysia. [49] In Cameroon, proposed locations of palm oil development lie at ecologically sensitive nexus points between already protected national forests, threatening wildlife in numerous ways and overriding local opposition. [50] In Colombia, peasant families have been forced off their land and their houses destroyed to make way for palm oil plantations. [51]

Deforestation necessarily involves threats to animals living in the regions affected, including direct threats – like poaching or forced removal – and indirect threats like habitat loss, which has been a catastrophe for already endangered Sumatran tigers, Sumatran rhinos, and Asian elephants. [52] Orangutans have been shot, kidnapped, and killed in order to clear land for palm oil plantations and to prevent them from eating and destroying young palms. In March 2012, hundreds are believed to have died in fires deliberately started for that purpose. [53]

Palm oil is not only a food commodity it was once the great hope of biofuels. Its cultivation has turned out instead to be a climate change disaster. Establishing a plantation typically requires clearing massive tracts of land and the addition of large amounts of chemical fertilizer to the soil. The process often involves draining and burning peatland, which sends huge amounts of carbon into the atmosphere. Because of palm oil cultivation, Indonesia has recently become the world’s third largest producer of climate change-causing greenhouse gases, behind the U.S. and China. Leaked data from the European Commission shows that palm oil’s carbon footprint is actually greater than crude oil’s and is only slightly less than that of oil from the tar sands. [54]

Due to growing consumer concern about the consequences of palm oil production, industry has joined forces with large environmental organizations like the World Wildlife Fund to promote more “sustainable” methods. Through efforts like the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), major producers and processors promise to both continue large-scale production while also allegedly protecting the rainforest and its inhabitants, primarily through complicated off-sets, land concessions, and the use of already “degraded” rainforest. As the German news outlet Der Spiegel reported in May 2012, however, these promises haven’t amounted to much: one former WWF employee remarked, “Sustainable palm oil, as the WWF promises with its RSPO certificates, is really nonexistent.” [55]

Workers are routinely exploited at every stage of palm oil production around the world. In Colombia, the world’s 5th largest producer, workers struck by the thousands in late 2011 to protest cuts in benefits, subcontracting practices, and precarious work. Carloads of people were brought in to break the strike. [56] Throughout Asia and the Pacific, the extraordinarily toxic herbicide paraquat is being used on palm plantations [57] and endangering workers. [58] Indentured servitude and outright slavery are not uncommon, along with similar human rights abuses of workers. [59]

Given how pervasive palm oil is and the wide range of products in which it’s found (including many vegan products), it’s important to read the label to know what you’re buying. F.E.P. suggests you avoid palm oil whenever possible.

How can I help?

Learning about the “bad actors” in the corporate world makes it easier for us to make informed and empowered choices for ourselves and for our communities, even as we mobilize together for more systemic change. A little bit of knowledge goes a long way in making that change and helping create a more just world for all. To make finding vegan food easier, Food Empowerment Project has created a finding vegan food guide, please take a look!

*Please note, although Food Empowerment Project is linking to other organizations, we do not necessarily endorse the entire content of their website or mission.

Theodore J. Leopold

Theodore J. Leopold is a Partner at Cohen Milstein and Co-Chair of the firm’s Complex Tort Litigation and Consumer Protection practice groups. Mr. Leopold is also a member of the firm’s Executive Committee.

Mr. Leopold’s practice is devoted solely to trial work, with a focus on complex product liability, environmental toxic torts, managed care abuse, consumer class actions, and catastrophic injury and wrongful death litigation. Mr. Leopold has tried cases throughout the country and has recovered multi-million-dollar verdicts, including jury verdicts in the eight-figure and nine-figure amounts.

In his role, Mr. Leopold litigates high-stakes, complex lawsuits on behalf of consumer safety issues, particularly as it relates to product defects, automobile safety and managed care matters. In 2010, he obtained a $131 million jury verdict against the Ford Motor Company, the ninth-largest verdict against an automobile company in U.S. history.

Mr. Leopold is court-appointed Interim Co-Lead Counsel in two high-profile putative environmental toxic tort class actions, including In re Flint Water Cases and the Cape Fear River Contaminated Water Class Action Litigation. Mr. Leopold also serves as lead counsel in the LensCrafters, Polaris ATV, and General Motors Litigation class actions.

Currently, Mr. Leopold is litigating the following notable matters:

  • In re Flint Water Cases(E.D. Mich.): On July 26, 2017, Mr. Leopold was court-appointed Interim Co-Lead Class Counsel to consolidate and oversee a group of toxic tort class actions filed on behalf of Flint, Michigan residents and businesses harmed by exposure to toxic levels of lead and other contaminants in the city’s drinking water.
  • Cape Fear River Contaminated Water Litigation(E.D.N.C.): On January 4, 2018, Mr. Leopold was court-appointed Interim Co-Lead Class Counsel to consolidate and oversee a series of five putative environmental toxic tort class actions filed against E.I. DuPont de Nemours Company and The Chemours Company for knowingly discharging PFAS, such as GenX, and other “forever chemicals” into the Cape Fear River, one of North Carolina’s principal drinking water sources.
  • General Motors Litigation (E.D. Mich.): On September 26, 2019, Mr. Leopold was court-appointed Lead Counsel and Chair of the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee to consolidate and oversee consumer class actions filed on behalf of thousands of GM vehicle owners across 30 states against GM related to defective eight-speed automatic transmissions in vehicles manufactured between 2015 and 2019.

Edwards v. Tesla (Sup. Crt. Cal., Alameda Cnty.): On June 25, 2020, Mr. Leopold filed a product liability lawsuit against Tesla, Inc. on behalf of Kristian and Jason Edwards. Ms. Edwards sustained catastrophic injuries as a result of the failure of the airbags to deploy in her Tesla Model 3 during an accident.

Edenville and Sanford Dam Failure Litigation (Mich. Crt. of Claims Cir. Crt., Cty. Saginaw, Mich.): On June 24, 2020, Mr. Leopold filed two separate property damage lawsuits against Michigan State Government agencies, including the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes & Energy and Michigan Department of Natural Resources for blatantly mismanaging and failing to properly maintain the Edenville and Sandford dams, which catastrophically failed on May 19, 2020. Cohen Milstein is representing more than 300 residents and businesses in Midland County and Saginaw County, Michigan and the surrounding areas, including, Arenac, Gladwin, and losco counties.

Reed, et al. v USA (E.D. Tenn.): Mr. Leopold is representing plaintiffs in a wrongful death and property damage mass action against the U.S. Department of Interior and National Park Service for the negligence of its employees to perform their duties during The Chimney Tops 2 Fire in Tennessee, which originated in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and ultimately damaged or destroyed 2,500 homes, buildings and other structures, and killed more than 12 people.

Examples of some of Mr. Leopold’s litigation successes are:

  • HCA Litigation(M.D. Fla.): Mr. Leopold was lead counsel in a class action lawsuit alleging that HCA hospitals billed inflated fees for emergency room radiology services provided to people involved in automobile accidents and who received care that was covered by their Florida Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. In December 2018, Cohen Milstein secured final approval of a $220 million injunctive relief settlement on behalf of the class.
  • Quinteros, et al v. DynCorp, et al(D.D.C.): Mr. Leopold represented over 2,000 Ecuadorian farmers and their families who suffered physical and mental injuries and property damage as a result of aerial spraying of toxic herbicides on or near their land by DynCorp, a U.S. government contractor. The bellwether trial on behalf of the first six Ecuadorian clients came to a conclusion in April 2017, when the ten-person jury unanimously determined that DynCorp was responsible for the conduct of the pilots with whom it had subcontracted to conduct the chemical spraying after April 2003. In July 2017, Mr. Leopold successfully settled the case.
  • Mincey v. Takata (Cir. Crt., Duval Cty., Fla.): Mr. Leopold was the lead attorney in a lawsuit brought on behalf of Patricia Mincey, a Florida woman who was paralyzed when the driver’s side airbag in her car deployed too aggressively during a vehicle collision. The injuries Ms. Mincey sustained in the accident ultimately led to her death. In groundbreaking litigation at the forefront of what would become a Department of Justice investigation and the largest defective product recall in automobile history, Ms. Mincey alleged that the airbag system in her car, manufactured by Takata Corporation, was defective and that Takata knowingly hid the defect from consumers. On July 15, 2016, immediately before a hearing was to be held on Plaintiff’s motions to depose the CEO of Takata and to amend the complaint to plead a claim for punitive damages, Mr. Leopold successfully resolved the case.
  • Caterpillar Product Liability Litigation(D.N.J.): Mr. Leopold was co-lead counsel in a class action lawsuit alleging Caterpillar sold diesel engines with defective exhaust emissions system that resulted in power losses and shutdowns. Mr. Leopold developed the case and led all aspects of the litigation, which he successfully resolved in September 2016 for $60 million.
  • Cole v. Ford(Cir. Crt., Jasper Cty., Miss.): Mr. Leopold was co-trial attorney for the family of former New York Mets infielder Brian Cole who was killed when the Ford Explorer he was driving rolled over, ejecting him from the vehicle. The lawsuit charged that the seat belt in the Explorer was defective in that it failed to keep Mr. Cole in his seat. Following two hung juries, eleven of the 12 jury members, in the third trial, agreed on the verdict and found for the Cole family in the amount of $131 million.
  • Quinlan v. Toyota(S.D. Fla.): Mr. Leopold was lead counsel in a product liability case against Toyota Motor Company after Bret Quinlan was paralyzed when his Toyota Camry suddenly and without warning began accelerating and failed to respond to the brakes. Mr. Leopold successfully resolved the case prior to trial.
  • Chipps v. Humana(Cir. Crt., Palm Beach Cty., Fla.): Mr. Leopold tried one of the first managed care abuse cases in the country after Humana wrongfully denied physical and occupational therapy for a 6-year-old child with cerebral palsy. The jury returned the largest punitive damage award on behalf of an individual in Florida history, and this seminal case was featured in the movie Damaged Care.
  • Carrier v. Trinity(Cit. Crt., Sullivan Cty., Tenn): Mr. Leopold represented the Carrier family in this wrongful death matter. The death occurred as a result of the guardrail safety device failing. Instead of protecting the driver, the guardrail intruded into the passenger compartment of the vehicle and impaled the driver, causing her death. Mr. Leopold successfully resolved the case in October 2016.

Mr. Leopold is the past president of Public Justice Foundation, one of the nation’s preeminent litigation and advocacy organizations that fights for consumer justice through precedent-setting and socially significant individual and class action litigation.

Mr. Leopold is also frequently recognized by peers as being among the best in his area of practice. He was named to Lawdragon’s 2020 list of “500 Leading Lawyers in America,” and Lawdragon’s 2020 and 2019 “500 Leading Plaintiff Consumer Lawyers” lists. In 2019, he was named Daily Business Review’s “Distinguished Leader” and Best Lawyers in America: 2019 “Lawyer of the Year” Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions – Plaintiffs, West Palm Beach, Florida. In 2018, Mr. Leopold was named a “Law360 MVP: Environmental,” recognizing the top five practitioners in the United States from both the Defense and Plaintiffs’ Bar in this area of law. Other recent recognitions include: The National Law Journal: “2018 Energy and Environmental Trailblazer” Daily Business Review’s “Most Effective Lawyer of 2017: Class Action” In addition, he was nominated for “Trial Lawyer of the Year” by the Public Justice Foundation for his ground-breaking litigation involving the managed care industry, and his work has been featured in the National Law Journal’s “Top Verdicts of the Year.” He is also consistently recognized by Best Lawyers in America in the fields of Product Liability Litigation – Plaintiffs, as well as Super Lawyers and Palm Beach Illustrated.

Mr. Leopold lectures frequently at professional gatherings on such issues as personal injury, product liability, class action litigation, trial tactics and consumer justice. He is also author and co-author of several legal publications, including Florida Insurance Law and Practice (Thomson/West). Additionally, he has earned the Florida Bar Civil Trial Certification, the highest level of recognition by the Florida Bar for competency and experience within civil trial law.


With menu items like the “ButterBurger” and “Wisconsin Cheese Curds” being customer favorites, you just know that it’s not going to be exactly “healthy” for you. But we’re not here to shame anybody – eating junk is fine, just not all the time, every day! Though while we’re here, we just want to draw your attention to the fact that while browsing their website, it’s not exactly easy to get to the nutritional info!

There’s a reason for this: one pint of their vanilla Frozen Custard contains enough calories for almost half of your daily caloric intake! (990 calories for anyone wondering – packing 45g of fat and 100g of carbohydrates!) Consumer Score: 45%


Zinc can be found in a range of foodstuffs including grass-fed beef, lamb, spinach and oysters - and Lee describes it as 'the absolute underdog of the immune system pyramid'.

Zinc can be found in a range of foodstuffs including grass-fed beef, lamb, spinach and oysters - and Lee describes it as 'the absolute underdog of the immune system pyramid'

It helps skin and bones and is particularly useful for fighting the flu as it attacks the infected cells.

'Eating foods rich in zinc is vital when it comes to looking after your immune system, as well as your gut,' she explained.

You can include zinc in your diet by incorporating more fish and seafood into your day.


Nutritional therapist Hannah Braye said most people are aware of how bacteria supplements can benefit your digestion, but many others don't realise how good they can be at supporting the immune system.

'Over 70 per cent of the immune system resides in the lining of the gut and is supported by a diverse community of bacteria,' Ms Braye told FEMAIL.

'Beneficial species of gut bacteria have been shown to influence both the innate and acquired immune systems. Taken over the winter months, they have been shown to significantly shorten common colds and reduce the severity of symptoms.'

Ms Braye recommends multi-strain products like Bio-Kult Multi-Strain Advanced Formula, which contains 14 different strains, as they are believed to have more positive benefits overall.

Eggs are a very nutritious food containing more than 20 essential vitamins and minerals

Eggs are an extremely nutritious food containing more than 20 essential vitamins and minerals including good quality protein, good fats and vitamins A and E, nutritionist Susie Burrell wrote on her website.

You can get many of these vitamins and minerals from other foods, but the one exception is selenium, a 'powerful antioxidant that plays a key role in cell health and is found in very few foods including eggs and Brazil nuts'.

A single egg, for example, provides a quarter of your daily selenium requirement.

As well as infertility, muscle weakness, hair loss and mental fog, depleted selenium can lead to a weakened immune system.

What cooking ingredients will help to boost immunity?

They are a powerhouse for supporting the immune system and have been acknowledged by eastern medics for thousands of years for their superpowers. The therapeutic component in these wonderful fungi act as antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and cell-regenerating agents.

These ingredients provide antibacterial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action to relieve the unfavourable symptoms of flu.

Supporting your body's natural defence system. Allicin, a compound in garlic, is known to boost the white blood cell’s response to illness. Onions also have multiple immunity-supporting compounds, whilst green chillies are rich in vitamin C to boost resistance to infection.

A herb that blooms in the cool, high-altitude regions of the continent, Rhodiola Rosea is widely acknowledged for its ability to assist in managing stress and anxiety in humans.

A study by Appalachian State University Human Performance Laboratory at the North Carolina Research Campus also suggests this super herb can help decrease the infection rate of viruses.

Green tea contains flavonoids that are believed to help block the production of virus-spreading enzymes in the body

In this study, marathon runners who took 600 milligrams of Rhodiola Rosea one month before their race had a higher chance of protection against viral infection after the marathon.

This is significant because runners (and other athletes) often become extremely prone to viral sickness after exerting their bodies for an extended period.

Rhodiola Rosea can be consumed in tea or tablet form as found in Clariti supplements by Australian company, Xootro.

Green tea contains flavonoids that are believed to help block the production of virus-spreading enzymes in the body.

Beyond this, it is extremely high in antioxidants and can give our bodies a much-needed boost to help fight viral symptoms when we become infected by a virus.

It is also listed as a metabolism booster which is vital to maintaining a healthy, well-flushed body.

Lee Holmes's immune-boosting roasted garlic bisque recipe

  • 4 garlic bulbs, unpeeled
  • 60 ml (2 fl oz/14 cup) extra virgin olive or coconut
  • 1 brown onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 leek, white part only, washed well and roughly chopped
  • 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups) good-quality chicken stock or bone broth
  • 3 parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 3 free-range egg yolks
  • 2 pinches of ground nutmeg, or to taste 100 g (312 oz) macadamia nuts, dry-roasted and roughly chopped or crushed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, to serve
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F)
  2. Cut about 5 mm (1/4 inch) off the tops of the garlic bulbs to expose the cloves
  3. Place the garlic bulbs in a small baking dish, add 1 tablespoon of the oil and toss to coat
  4. Turn the garlic cut side up, then cover the dish tightly with foil
  5. Bake for 30–35 minutes, or until the garlic skins are golden brown and tender
  6. Leave to cool, then squeeze the garlic out of the skins
  7. Heat the remaining olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Sauté the onion and leek for 3–4 minutes, or until softened
  8. Add the roasted garlic, stock and parsnip. Reduce the heat to low, then cover and simmer for about 30–35 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender
  9. Leave to cool slightly, then purée the soup using a food processor or hand-held stick blender
  10. In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks. While the soup is still warm, and with the food processor or blender still running, add the egg yolks and whiz until combined
  11. Season to taste with the nutmeg, and sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  12. If you need to warm the soup to serve, stir gently over low heat until heated through, but no longer than 1–2 minutes, or the yolks will curdle
  13. Ladle into bowls, top with the macadamias and parsley and serve


Three men aged 43, 53, and 35 who had recently travelled to China contracted the disease.

Two flew in from Wuhan while the other arrived in Sydney from Shenzhen, south China.

They were treated in isolation at Westmead Hospital.

A 21-year-old woman is identified as the fourth person to test positive for the illness in NSW.

The woman, a student at UNSW, flew into Sydney International Airport on flight MU749 on January 23 and presented to the emergency department 24 hours later after developing flu-like symptoms.

A man in his 40s is confirmed as the fifth coronavirus case in the state and a woman in her 50s as the sixth. Both returned to Sydney from Iran.

The 41-year-old sister of a man who had returned from Iran with the disease was one of three confirmed cases. The second locally-acquired case was a 53-year-old male health worker who hadn't travelled for many months.

The other new case is a 31-year-old man who flew into Sydney on Saturday from Iran and developed symptoms 24 hours later.

Six more cases are confirmed in NSW. They included a 39-year-old man who had flown in from Iran and a 53-year-old man who arrived from Singapore last Friday.

It also included two women aged in their 60s who arrived in Sydney from South Korea and Japan respectively.

A man in his 30s who returned from Malaysia to Sydney on Malindo Air flight OD171 on March 1 was also one of the six.

A 50-year-old carer was the final of the day's six people diagnosed with coronavirus. The woman is a carer at a nursing home in Macquarie Park in Sydney's north. She had not been overseas and contracted the virus in Australia.

A 95-year-old woman died at a Sydney hospital on Wednesday night after developing a respiratory illness from the coronavirus, bringing the death toll to two.

A Macquarie University lecturer tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday after returning from Iran.

A further six cases confirmed on Wednesday evening. They included an 82-year-old aged care resident from the Dorothy Henderson Lodge, where the 95-year-old woman was staying.

The new cases include a female doctor who works at Liverpool hospital, a female patient from the Northern Beaches, a male from Cronulla, a woman who returned from the Phillippines and a woman in her 70s.

A health care worker, who attended the same conference as the doctor from Ryde Hospital, also tests positive.

A boy from Epping Boys High School is diagnosed with COVID-19 forcing the school to temporarily close.

A Goulburn resident who had recently returned from Singapore and travelled on to Darwin was also diagnosed with the virus.

A fourth resident, aged 94, from the Dorothy Henderson Lodge aged care facility in Macquarie Park was also diagnosed.

Two more workers at the Dorothy Henderson Lodge aged care centre are diagnosed with coronavirus.

A 24-year-old female and 21-year-old male have now been confirmed as cases at the facility.

An 18-year-old female has also been diagnosed.

Six new cases are diagnosed. This includes a man in his 50s and a woman in her 40s, who are a close contact of a previously confirmed case.

Also included was a man in his 40s and a woman in her 40s, both family members of a previously confirmed case.

A man in his 20s, also a close contact of a previously confirmed case, was also included.

A man in his 70s, who returned from Italy and who exhibited symptoms a day after returning. NSW Health is contacting flight passengers on flight number QR908 which left Doha on 1 March.

A second male in his 40s, who is a known close contact of a previously confirmed case, is being tested. He travelled on two domestic flights on 28 February while symptomatic but before he had been identified as a close contact.

Another man in his 60s who recently returned from Italy and a second man in his 40s who is a known close contact of a previously confirmed case, were confirmed late Saturday.

NSW Health says the man in his 40s travelled on two domestic flights on 28 February while symptomatic.

A female care worker in her 30s at Ryde Hospital is among new cases in New South Wales. She had been in contact with a case in Macquarie Park aged care facility which had already been confirmed.

Another woman, in her 50s, was the other person confirmed to have caught the disease. She had also been in contact with a previous case.

An 82-year-old man, who contracted the coronavirus from an infected aged care worker at BaptistCare's Dorothy Henderson Lodge in his Sydney, died on Sunday.

A man in his 70s was diagnosed after presenting to Sydney's St Vincent Hospital on Friday. He hadn't recently travelled overseas and the source of his infection is not known.

A man in his 40s who recently travelled overseas was confirmed on Sunday night as NSW's 40th case. No other details about the case are available.

St Patricks Marist College in Sydney's north west is forced to close after two students in grade 10, one boy and one girl, are diagnosed with coronavirus.

Both fathers of the year 10 students, aged in their 50s have also tested positive, including a third member of the ADF.

The father of the male St Patricks Marist College student is diagnosed with coronavirus. He is also the third Australian Defence Force member to test positive.

A grade 7 student at Willoughby Girls High School was another confirmed case on March 9. The girl's mother, who is Iranian, was also diagnosed.

Woman aged in her 30s was diagnosed on Monday having recently returned from the Philippines. NSW Health is establishing her travel movements and identifying any contacts who may require self-isolation.

Cases confirmed on Tuesday March 10 include a woman in her 20s who had contact with a previously confirmed case at Ryde Hospital and a woman in her 40s who recently returned from South Korea.

NSW Health is separately working to establish how three others were infected: two women in their 30s and 40s and a man in his 70s.

Two other cases are related to the outbreak at the Dorothy Henderson Lodge nursing home in Macquarie Park.

Another case was confirmed.

A man in his 70s, a woman in her 30s and a woman in her 40s test positive, as well as three other people.

A Chinese national aged in his 50s becomes the first confirmed case of the coronavirus in Australia.

The man flew to Melbourne on China Southern flight CZ321 from Wuhan via Guangzhou on January 19.

He was quarantined at Monash Hospital in Clayton in Melbourne's east.

A Victorian man in his 60s is diagnosed with the coronavirus.

He became unwell on January 23 - two days after returning from the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak.

The man was confirmed as positive on January 29 and was subsequently seen by doctors at the Monash Medical Centre.

A woman in her 40s is found to have coronavirus.

She was visiting from China and mostly spent time with her family.

She is being treated at Royal Melbourne Hospital.

A woman in her 20s in Melbourne is found to have the virus.

Two passengers taken off the Diamond Princess cruise ship test positive.

Another passenger taken off the cruise ship tests positive.

Victorian man confirmed to have coronavirus after the 78-year-old was evacuated to Melbourne from a Darwin quarantine centre.

It is confirmed a Victorian woman in her 30s has tested positive for coronavirus after flying from Malaysia to Melbourne via Indonesia.

Victorian man in his 30s confirmed to have coronavirus after returning from Iran. Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said the man was 'almost symptom-free' after self-isolating

A doctor working at a clinic in Toorak, Melbourne has been confirmed to have coronavirus and is now in isolation at home after returning from a trip to the US.

The doctor came into contact with around 70 patients who have been told to self isolate.

A woman who arrived in the state from Indonesia has tested positive

Authorities confirmed on Monday two new cases in returned travellers from the United States.

A third case was diagnosed on Monday in a passenger who recently returned from Iran.

One of the cases is a woman in her 50s who returned from Tehran via Kuala Lumpar on MH0149, arriving on March 6, and is in hospital in isolation being treated for pneumonia.

A man in his 70s who returned to Melbourne from Singapore on March 6 at 12.15am on flight EK404 was confirmed to be carrying the disease.

A Victorian man in his 20s who recently returned from Hong Kong was diagnosed.

A teacher from Carey Baptist Grammer was diagnosed. The school will closed until next week while students are tested

A male teacher at Yeshivah-Beth Rivkah college was diagnosed with coronavirus after arriving in Australia on a flight from Los Angeles on March 6.

Queensland confirms its first case after a 44-year-old Chinese national was diagnosed with the virus. He is being treated at Gold Coast University Hospital.

A 42-year-old Chinese woman who was travelling in the same Wuhan tour group as the 44-year-old man tests positive. She is in Gold Coast University Hospital in stable condition.

An eight-year-old boy was diagnosed with coronavirus. He is also from the tour group where the other Queensland cases came from.

A 37-year-old man, who was a member of a group of nine Chinese tourists in quarantine on the Gold Coast, also tested positive.

A 37-year-old woman was diagnosed with coronavirus from the same travel group that flew to Queensland from Melbourne on January 27.

Two Queensland women, aged 54 and 55, tested positive for COVID-19 and will be flown to Brisbane for further treatment.

A 57-year-old woman from Queensland also tested positive for the virus.

A 63-year-old woman was confirmed to have the virus after returning to the Gold Coast from Iran.

A 20-year-old man from China was confirmed as the tenth person to be infected by the coronavirus in Queensland. The man had travelled to Dubai for at least 14 days before entering Australia, via Brisbane on February 23.

A 26-year-old man from Logan in Brisbane is diagnosed with coronavirus. He arrived back in Australia from Iran.

An 81-year-old man who had returned to Brisbane from Thailand and a 29-year-old woman who had come via Singapore from London are diagnosed with coronavirus.

A 28-year-old man in Brisbane was diagnosed after returning from Iran.

A 38-year-old woman is confirmed to have tested positive for coronavirus after returning to Australia from London via Dubai.

A 42-year-old female is n the Sunshine Coast University Hospital in a stable condition. She is the partner of the 38-year-old woman, who travelled from London through Dubai.

A 46-year-old female from Brisbane, who recently travelled to Austria and France, is confirmed to have contracted the illness.

A 22-year-old male from Brisbane is in a stable condition in The Prince Charles Hospital. He recently travelled to Spain, Italy and France.

A student at the University of Queensland was diagnosed with coronavirus.

A Chinese couple in their 60s who arrived in Adelaide from Wuhan to visit relatives are confirmed to have coronavirus.

A 24-year-old woman from South Australia was transferred to Royal Adelaide Hospital.

Mother, 40, is diagnosed after flying to Australia from Iran via Kuala Lumpur.

Another 24-year-old woman, not related to the previous woman, was in a stable condition in Adelaide hospital after falling ill following overseas travel.

The eight-month-old child of the 40-year-woman, diagnosed on March 4, is also diagnosed with coronavirus.

Renowned Australian music composer Brett Dean, 58, who travelled to SA on March 3 from Taiwan also tests positive. He's receiving treatment in an Adelaide hospital.

A 78-year-old man from Western Australia was transferred to Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Perth. On February 28, he was taken into intensive care in a 'serious' condition and later died. His wife was also diagnosed with coronavirus.

The elderly man died in the early hours of the morning from the virus at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.

A woman in Perth is diagnosed with the virus after flying into the city from the UK, via Dubai

A Perth woman, aged in her 70s, was confirmed as WA’s fourth coronavirus diagnosis. She had been in Cuba in recent weeks had flown from London to Perth on a direct flight on March 5.

The woman was tested for COVID-19 on Friday but didn’t wait for the results before attending a the West Australian Symphony Orchestra’s Absolute Beethoven concert on Saturday night.

A West Australian woman in her 60s contracted coronavirus from her husband after he returned from Iran, making her the state's first person-to-person transmission of COVID-19.

The man who travelled from Iran to Australia on Saturday tested positive for COVID-19.

A man in his 20s was diagnosed with coronavirus after returning to Tasmania from Nepal on February 26 and experiencing cold-like symptoms the next day.

He is in the Royal Hobart Hospital in a satisfactory condition.

A tourist in Darwin has tested positive for coronavirus in what is the first confirmed case in the Northern Territory.

NT Health confirmed the 52-year-old man as the first case of COVID-19 in the community on Wednesday evening.

The man recently arrived in Darwin via Sydney and has had limited contact with the local community, NT Health said in a statement.

IHOP reveals the mystery of IHOb

IHOP said on Monday that it’s temporarily changing its branding because the B stands for burgers.

It’s only a marketing campaign. IHOP isn’t changing its name. But the chain of breakfast diners took social media by storm last week with the cryptic announcement that it was flipping the lowercase “p” in its logo and making it a “b.”

IHOP, of course, stands for International House of Pancakes. But IHOP — sorry, IHOb — wants to be known as a place to get lunch and dinner, not just breakfast and brunch. It’s adding several burgers to its menu, including a Big Brunch burger with bacon, a fried egg and browned potato on top.

Dear Internet, we abbreciate your batience. Now let’s see who guessed right. B-hold. #IHOb

&mdash IHOP (@IHOP) June 11, 2018

“We are definitely going to be IHOP,” Darren Rebelez, president of IHOP, told CNNMoney. “But we want to convey that we are taking our burgers as seriously as our pancakes.”

An IHOP in Hollywood is getting new IHOb signs, and some others might get the treatment. The new IHOb Twitter account even retweeted photos and video of a construction crew putting up the new sign in LA.

But Rebelez said the vast majority of the nearly 1,800 other locations will still go by IHOP.

So, to use another B-word, will there be a backlash?

Some people correctly predicted it would stand for burgers, but many others on Twitter and Facebook thought the B would stand for breakfast or bacon.

Others had more fun, speculating that the B stood for bitcoin or break dancing.

Chiquita even got in on the act, saying that the B should stand for bananas.

Others noted that the Ob in the IHOb logo looked extremely similar to the O.B. brand of tampons.

Rebelez isn’t worried that people will be disappointed. He said some people were upset that IHOP would even consider tinkering with the name. But most fans figured out it was just a way to get people talking.

“The vast majority of people were having fun with the name change and were trying to solve the riddle. They had fun for a week trying to figure it out,” Rebelez said.

America loves burgers, and IHOP wants to be a bigger player at lunch and dinner.

When I asked Rebelez whether IHOP was considering food-fusion menu items — remember Burger King’s Whopperito or Taco Bell’s Nacho Fries? — he joked that diners could order a side of flapjacks and make their own pancake burger.

Still, it’s worth wondering why IHOP is going through all this trouble. Why mess with a good thing?

IHOP owner Dine Brands is also the parent company of Applebee’s. Is Rebelez worried that he’s competing more directly with his corporate sibling?

Not really. Rebelez said IHOP will remain family-focused, while Applebee’s will still be a place to go with friends to get a beer and watch a game.

“They have a bar,” Rebelez said. “If you want a burger and beer, you are not going to come to IHOP.”

In other words, the B in IHOb clearly doesn’t stand for booze.

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Food & Water

Democracy Now! coverage includes extensive interviews
with Michael Pollan, Maude Barlow, and Raj Patel, among others.

August 25, 2009: EPA
Fails To Inform Public About Weed-Killer In Drinking Water, Huffington Post Investigation Reveals

An investigation by the Huffington Post reveals the Environmental Protection Agency knew that one of the country’s most widely-used herbicides exceeds federal safety limits in four states but failed to inform residents of the associated dangers.

August 03, 2009: Former FDA Commissioner David Kessler: The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite
In the midst of this national focus on obesity, today we’ll speak to David Kessler who has spent the last seven years trying to understand how the food industry has changed American eating habits, made certain foods difficult to resist,
and helped create the country’s number one public health issue.

August 03, 2009: Bacon As A Weapon of Mass Destruction
From the McDonalds McGriddle to Wendy’s “Baconnator to “baconnaise to bacon-infused vodka, bacon has become a ubiquitous ingredient many diets in this era of extreme food combinations. Arun Gupta of the Indypendent writes “Behind the proliferation of bacon offerings is a confluence of government policy, factory farming, the boom in fast food and manipulation of consumer taste that has turned bacon into a weapon of mass destruction.”

May 14, 2009: Omnivore’s
Dilemma Author Michael Pollan’s New Advice on Buying Food: Don’t Buy Any Food You’ve Ever Seen Advertised

Michael Pollan is one of the nation’s leading writers and thinkers in this country on the issue of food. In light of what he calls the processed food industry’s co-option of “sustainability” and its vast spending on marketing, Pollan advises to be wary of any food that’s advertised.

January 29, 2009: Food
Safety: Georgia Plant Knowingly Shipped Contaminated Peanuts Study Links Corn Syrup to Toxic Mercury

We look at two stories on food safety: The FDA has
issued one of the largest food recalls in history after eight people died of salmonella poisoning. A Georgia peanut plant knowingly shipped products contaminated with salmonella on a dozen occasions over the past two years. And a pair of new studies has revealed traces of toxic mercury can be found in many popular food items containing high fructose corn syrup.

October 17, 2008: World Food Day a Reminder of a Global Crisis Further Sidelined by Campaign Frenzy, Financial Woes
As the financial crisis dominates the attention of the news media and the presidential campaign, a global food crisis continues to affect millions of people around the world. Last night, a group of farmers and food policy experts gathered in New York for an event to mark World Food Day. We speak to Raj Patel, author of “Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System”, and Ben Burkett, president of the National Family Farm Coalition.

September 12, 2008: FLOW: For Love of Water…New Film Examines Global Water Crisis
FLOW: For Love of Water is a new documentary premiering in New York and Los Angeles today that takes on the global water crisis. We speak with filmmaker Irena Salina and water rights activist, Maude Barlow, head of the Council of Canadians, founder of the Blue Planet Project and author of several books, including Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water.

July 31, 2008: Raj
Patel on the Collapse of the World Trade Organization Talks

Talks to expand the World Trade Organization have collapsed after a week of negotiations. The talks broke down in part because India and other developing
nations demanded the right to protect their farming sectors against heavily subsidized imports. The US refused to accept the protections and insisted on giving US corporations greater access to markets in India, China and other nations.

July 15, 2008: With
Crises in Fuel, Food, Housing and Banking, What Gvt. Policies Are Being Pushed Through? Naomi Klein Reexamines The Shock Doctrine

As the country and the world reel from crises ranging from skyrocketing oil prices and global food shortages to housing and climate change, how best to understand the government policies being pushed through? We spend the hour with Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. Klein also discusses Barack Obama’s economic advisory team, whom she calls “Obama’s Chicago Boys” why she’s suing the US government for spying on journalists like her as well as her recent trip to China, where she says the government is building a high-tech police state with the help of US military contractors.

July 09, 2008: The Fruit Hunters: Author Adam Leith Gollner on the Politics of Fruit and the Secret History of the Miracle Berry
We speak with Montreal-based writer Adam Leith Gollner about his new book, The Fruit Hunters: A Story of Nature, Adventure, Commerce, and Obsession. Gollner traveled around the world in search of what he calls the forgotten histories of fruit. Among his discoveries: the “miracle berry,” a cranberry-like fruit that turns sour into sweet, but for questionable reasons—including possible conflicts with corporate interests—has yet to reach American consumers.

July 09, 2008: As
Global Food Crisis Tops G8 Summit Agenda, World Leaders Enjoy Lavish 18-Course Banquet

Shortly after saying they were “deeply concerned” about soaring global food prices and supply shortages, world leaders attending the G8 summit in Hokkaido sat down to an eighteen-course gastronomic extravaganza, courtesy of the Japanese government. We take a look at the global food crisis, food independence and real democracy with bestselling author, Frances Moore Lappé.

May 06, 2008: Monsanto’s
Harvest of Fear

Monsanto already dominates America’s food chain with its genetically modified seeds. Now it has targeted milk production. Just as frightening as the corporation’s tactics—ruthless legal battles against small farmers—is its decades-long history of toxic contamination. We speak to James Steele, contributing editor at Vanity

May 01, 2008: Back from Haiti, Rev. Jesse Jackson Calls for Emergency Food Aid to a Starving Nation Devastated by Longtime US-Led Interference, Subversion
Reverend Jesse Jackson has just returned from Haiti, where the World Food Program
is warning of a “major crisis” if international donors fail to help feed Haiti’s poor. Prices of rice, beans and cooking oil have doubled in the past few months. The soaring food prices have had a devastating effect: two-thirds of Haitians
live on less than a dollar a day, and 47 percent are undernourished. We speak to Rev. Jackson about the US responsibility to feed a nation long targeted by Western subversion. Rev. Jackson also shares his thoughts on the recent fallout between Democratic candidate Barack Obama and his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

April 24, 2008: The US Role in Haiti’s Food Riots
As people around the world continue to protest the soaring prices of basic food items, the World Food Program has described the crisis as a silent tsunami. The head of the Food and Agriculture Organization blamed the current global food crisis on “inappropriate” policy decisions over the past two decades. Nowhere is this more clear than in Haiti, where hungry people are rioting in the streets because they cannot afford to buy rice. Haiti imports most of its rice from the United States, which in turn remains heavily subsidized. We speak with human rights lawyer, Bill Quigley.

April 16, 2008: Stuffed and Starved: As Food Riots Break Out Across the Globe, Part II of Raj Patel on The Hidden Battle for the World Food System
The rise in global food prices has sparked a number of protests in recent weeks, highlighting the threat of worsening already dire levels of global hunger. The World Bank estimates world food prices have risen 80 percent over the past three years and that at least 33 countries face social unrest as a result. The World Food Program has issued a rare $500 million-dollar emergency appeal to deal with the growing crisis. We go to Part II of our conversation with Raj Patel, author of “Stuffed and Starved: the Hidden Battle for the World Food System.”

April 14, 2008: Did Burger King Target and Spy on Tomato Pickers Rights Groups?
In Florida, groups organizing for tomato pickers’ rights say they might have been spied on and vilified online by the fast-food conglomerate Burger King. The Fort Myers News-Press traced threatening emails directed at the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and the Student/Farmworker Alliance to Burger King’s corporate headquarters in Miami, Florida. We speak with the reporter who broke the story and with the coordinator of the Student/Farmworker Alliance who says he received a call from the owner of a private security company posing as a student.

April 08, 2008: Stuffed
and Starved: As Food Riots Break Out Across the Globe, Raj Patel Details “The Hidden Battle for the World Food System”

Global food prices have risen dramatically, adding a new level of danger to
the crisis of world hunger. In Africa, food riots have swept across the continent, with recent protests in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Mauritania and Senegal. In most of West Africa, the price of food has risen by 50 percent——in Sierra Leone, 300 percent. In the United States there has been a 41 percent surge in prices for wheat, corn, rice and other cereals over the past six months. We speak with Raj Patel, author of Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System.”

April 02, 2008: Record
Number of Food Stamp Recipients Projected

Government officials are projecting the number of Americans receiving food stamps will reach a record twenty-eight million later this year. Over the past year, more than forty states saw the number of food stamp recipients rise. A ten percent jump in food stamp recipients was recorded in six states: Arizona, Florida, Maryland, Nevada, North Dakota and Rhode Island. In West Virginia, one-in-six residents now receive food stamps. We speak with Jim Weill, president of the Food Research and Action Center.

March 24, 2008: Anti-Epileptics, Sex Hormones, Mood Stabilizers, Antibiotics Among Array of Pharmaceuticals in US Water Supply
Anti-epileptics were found in the drinking water of Southern California a sex hormone was found in San Francisco’s water three medications and an antibiotic were found in the water supply of Tuscon, Arizona and a mood stabilizer was
found in the water of New Jersey. And that’s just to name a few. An exhaustive five-month investigation by Associated Press has found the drinking water in at least twenty-four major American cities across the country contains trace amounts of a wide array of pharmaceuticals. We speak with Associated Press national writer, Jeff Donn.

February 27, 2008: Blue Covenant: Maude Barlow on the Global Movement for Water Justice
Maude Barlow is the head of the Council of Canadians, Canada’s largest public advocacy organization, and founder of the Blue Planet Project. Barlow is author of the new book Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water.

February 14, 2008: Chocolate’s Bittersweet Economy: Cocoa Industry Accused of Greed, Neglect for Labor Practices in Ivory Coast
On Valentine’s Day, we look into two of the luxury industries that have come to expect huge profits on this hyper-consumerized occasion. We begin with chocolate. A scathing new report by veteran journalist and author Christian Parenti says hardly any progress has been made in the cocoa industry’s pledges to address child labor. We host a debate between Parenti and William Guyton, president of the World Cocoa Foundation.

February 14, 2008: Theo Chocolate Founder, CEO Joe Whinney on Fair Trade Cocoa
We speak to Joe Whinney, founder and CEO of Theo Chocolate, which describes itself as the only roaster of organic cocoa beans and the first roaster of Fair Trade certified cocoa beans in the United States.

February 13, 2008: In
Defense of Food: Author, Journalist Michael Pollan on Nutrition, Food Science and the American Diet

Acclaimed author and journalist Michael Pollan argues that what most Americans are consuming today is not food but “edible food-like substances.” His previous book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, was named one of the ten best books of 2006 by the New York Times and the Washington Post. His latest book, just published, is called In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto.

October 29, 2007: Costa Rican Banana Growers Form Fair Trade Cooperative
Yocser Carranza Godoy, president of the worker-controlled cooperative called Coopetrabasur and the cooperative’s attorney Carlos Eugenio Vargas join us in New York to discuss the banana cooperative.

August 01, 2007: The Bottled Water Lie: As Soft Drink Giant Admits Product is Tap Water, New Scrutiny Falls on the Economic and Environmental Costs of a Billion Dollar Industry
The soft drink giant Pepsi has been forced to make an embarrassing admission—its
best-selling Aquafina bottled water is nothing more than tap water. Pepsi has agreed to change its label under pressure from the advocacy group Corporate Accountability International (CAI) which has been leading an increasingly successful campaign against bottled water. We look at the economic and environmental costs of the bottled water industry with CAI’s Gigi Kellett and freelance journalist Michael Blanding.

August 01, 2007: Stockton,
California City Council Reverses Water Privatization It Passed Over Widespread Local Opposition

We end with a major victory for the opponents of water privatization. In 2003, the City Council of Stockton, California ignored overwhelming public opposition to approve a $600 million dollar, 20-year water privatization agreement. The deal gave a multinational consortium full control over the city’s water, sewage, and stormwater systems. But two weeks the council reversed the position and voted unanimously to resume control of its water utilities. We speak with Alan Snitow, co-director of an award-winning PBS documentary on water privatization and co-author of “Thirst: Fighting the Corporate Theft of our Water.”

July 20, 2007: Relatives
of Colombia Death Squad Victims Sue U.S.-Based Fruit Giant Chiquita for Arming, Funding Their Killers

The Cincinnati-based fruit company Chiquita is being sued for funding, arming and supporting death squads in Colombia. The human rights group EarthRights International filed the class action lawsuit on behalf of six Colombians whose relatives had allegedly been murdered by a Colombian paramilitary group that was partially funded by Chiquita. The lawsuit alleges that the banana giant funneled money and guns to a rightwing death squad that murdered thousands of people and shipped untold amounts of cocaine to the United States.

April 27, 2007: Immokalee Tomato Pickers Win Campaign Against McDonalds, Set Sights on Burger King
We speak with Gerardo Reyes-Chavez, a farm worker and member of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. The coalition represents over 4,000 mostly immigrant workers who labor in the agricultural fields of Southwest Florida. The group recently waged a successful campaign against fastfood giant McDonalds over the price paid for tomatoes picked in Florida. In 2005, the group also won a campaign against Taco Bell.

March 23, 2007: Chiquita
Admits to Paying Colombian Paramilitary Group on U.S. Terror List

The Cincinnati-based fruit company Chiquita has admitted to paying off the group United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia which is considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. government. Chiquita has agreed to a $25 million fine on the condition that it doesn’t have to reveal the names of the executives involved. Chiquita says it fell victim to an extortion racket that threatened its employees. But Colombia’s attorney general has said he will seek the extradition of eight Chiquita employees over what he calls “a criminal relationship.”

February 14, 2007: Child Labor: The Hidden Ingredient to the Billion-Dollar Chocolate Industry?
On Valentine’s Day, chocolate is the currency in which people are supposed to trade their love. Little do they know that chocolate might have been made with slave labor. We speak with Brian Campbell, an attorney with the International Labor Rights Fund.

June 14, 2006: Police Forcibly Shut Down South Central L.A. Urban Farm, 40+ Protesters Arrested
Hundreds of police officers in riot gear shut down a fourteen-acre urban farm in South Central Los Angeles on Tuesday. More than 40 protesters, including actor Darryl Hannah were arrested as they staged an encampment to resist removal from what is considered the largest urban farm in the United States.

May 01, 2002: Blue Gold: The Fight to Stop the Corporate Theft of the World’s Water: Part Two of An Interview with Anti Corporate Globalization Activist Maude Barlow
The wars of the next century will be about water. That is what activist and author Maude Barlow warned on yesterday’s Democracy Now. Sitting in our firehouse studio, she explained that the consumption of water doubles every twenty years–more than twice the rate of the increase in human population. At the same time, she explained, transnational corporations are plotting to control the world’s dwindling water supply. In England and France, where water has already been privatized, rates have soared and water shortages have been severe. The major bottled water producers–Perrier, Evian, Naya, and now Coca-Cola and PepsiCo–are part of one of the fastest growing and least regulated industries, buying up freshwater rights and drying up crucial supplies. In the end, corporate giants act in their own interests and water flows only to the wealthy, who can afford it.

Can You Fit Everything You Need In A Backpack That Weighs Only About 10 Ounces?

It's got four sides, a bottom and handles. But it's built with Dyneema composite fabrics and weighs less than 10 ounces. See why the Hyperlite Mountain Gear G.O.A.T. Tote Bag is the greatest of all time.

Prescription for Northern Virginia: low-salt diet | Policy & Politics | - The Chesapeake Bay Journal

Hoping to reverse a serious threat to the health of Northern Virginia streams, state officials have assembled a hefty toolkit aimed at helping the region's paved surfaces go on a reduced-salt diet.

Wintertime salt use to melt snow and ice on roads, parking lots and sidewalks has been increasing for years across the region, and it's known to have impaired aquatic life in at least one Potomac River tributary, Accotink Creek. Other streams, and even drinking water reservoirs, are similarly threatened.

In January, the state Department of Environmental Quality unveiled a salt management strategy for Northern Virginia, spelling out a plethora of steps the government, businesses and citizens could take to reduce the environmental impacts of de-icing.

"Our goal is not to say, 'Stop using salt,'" said Will Isenberg, a water quality specialist in the DEQ's Watershed Programs and Office of Ecology. "Our goal is to try to strike a balance [between the safety benefits of de-icing and its harmful impacts]."

The strategy lays out more than 400 pages of background and dozens of suggestions for how everyone, from municipal snowplow drivers and snow-removal contractors to homeowners, can reduce wintertime salt use without sacrificing safety.

Work on the toolkit began three years ago, after state regulators imposed a "pollution diet" on stretches of Accotink Creek because of excessive chloride levels there in winter. Under that diet, or total maximum daily load in regulatory lingo, Fairfax County is under orders to take steps to restore water quality.

A snowplow is loaded with road salt. Virginia's Department of Transportation already has adopted some best management practices aimed at applying de-icing materials more efficiently.

To draft the strategy, the DEQ assembled a group of 63 individuals representing 43 stakeholders in Northern Virginia and held a series of meetings.

Salt spread on pavement to melt snow and ice dissolves in the melting runoff. Excessive salt can harm aquatic insects, frogs, salamanders and freshwater fish in streams, and it can kill trees and vegetation along the roads. In drinking water supplies, it poses a human health hazard, particularly for people with hypertension or heart problems. Salt also can corrode roads, bridges and vehicles, shortening their useful lives.

Other streams in Northern Virginia have not been analyzed as thoroughly as Accotink, but monitoring by the U.S. Geological Survey of neighboring watersheds detected spikes of "specific conductance," an indirect measure of the presence of sodium or chloride in water.

The problem is not limited to Northern Virginia. A 2014 study reported that heavy use of de-icing salts had raised salinity levels beyond what's good for aquatic life in 40% of urban streams nationwide.

Rising salinity is a symptom of a broader ailment afflicting Northern Virginia streams. Pavement and buildings in the heavily suburbanized region cover 26%, on average, of the land in stream watersheds, increasing polluted stormwater runoff. Studies have shown that streams begin to show ecological impacts when as little as 2% of their watersheds are covered by impervious surfaces, and degradation becomes significant once the percentage exceeds 10%.

For Accotink, the DEQ was required to draw up plans to reduce chloride levels in the stream. Agency officials say they developed the salt management strategy as a way to avoid having to take more regulatory action on other regional streams. They say regulation alone won't be enough to reverse trends anyway, because a significant amount of the salt washing into streams is coming from private property that is not subject to regulation.

"There are no mandates," Isenberg said. Rather, he added, ''There is an opportunity for everybody to win through this, be it cost savings, reduced impact or what have you."

A cluster of salt crystals nestles in melting snow. Applying de-icing compounds  more evenly clears pavement effectively while reducing risks of salty runoff. 

Lauren Mollerup, assistant maintenance administrator in Northern Virginia for the state Department of Transportation, said highway crews already have adopted a number of best practices aimed at reducing salt use by applying it more efficiently. Even a small change in the amount of salt applied can make a big difference, with about 17,000 lane miles of roads and highways to treat in the region, more than enough to drive to California and back three times.

A similar salt management plan produced in Minnesota five years ago, on which the Northern Virginia strategy is modeled, yielded salt-use reductions of 30󈞲%. That translates into cost savings for taxpayers, property owners and homeowners.

The key to judging the strategy's success, though, will be whether and how quickly chloride reductions happen in streams.

There's something for everyone in this voluminous document, which is divided into sections, each written specifically for a particular user of de-icing compounds. The strategy includes measures that, except perhaps in rural areas, have become widespread, such as applying heavily salted water, or brine, to pavement before a storm arrives.

The bottom line: A little salt goes a long way. One 12-ounce mug of sodium chloride — common table salt — is enough to melt snow or ice on a 20-foot-long driveway or on 10 sidewalk squares.

The plan provides a menu of alternative materials and methods for preventing or clearing snow and ice. Homeowners, for instance, are encouraged to look at spreading bird seed on top of snow or ice instead of rock salt. The seed provides traction on slippery surfaces, and cleanup is less of a chore because birds eat most of the seed.

Now that the strategy has been published, the state is handing off to the Northern Virginia Regional Commission the tasks of spreading the word about it and monitoring its effectiveness.

But Sarah Sivers, who heads the DEQ's water quality planning team, cautioned, "This is not a short-term fix." It'll take a long-term effort to bring down salinity levels in streams, she added, but the toolkit is a first step.

Chiquita Bananas Is Being Sued for Allegedly Polluting Local Drinking Water - Recipes



For The Year Ended December 31, 2004


For The Transition Period From To

Commission file number 001-13795


Delaware 95-2588080
(State or other jurisdiction of
Incorporation or organization)
(I.R.S. Employer
Identification Number)
4695 MacArthur Court, Newport Beach, California 92660
(Address of principal executive offices) (Zip Code)

(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

Name of each exchange
on which registered:

Common Stock, $.10 par value American Stock Exchange

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: NONE

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15 (d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes x No ¨

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is an accelerated filer as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934. Yes x No ¨

Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K. x

The aggregate market value of the voting stock of the registrant held by non-affiliates is $114.9 million. This figure is estimated as of June 30, 2004, at which date the closing price of the registrant’s Common Stock on the American Stock Exchange was $33.68 per share. For purposes of this calculation, shares owned by executive officers, directors, and 5% stockholders known to the registrant have been deemed to be owned by affiliates. The number of shares of $.10 par value Common Stock outstanding as of June 30, 2004, was 8,971,697. The number of shares of $.10 par value Common Stock outstanding as of March 11, 2005, was 9,096,095.

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Unless otherwise indicated or in the context otherwise requires, the terms “Company,” “we,” “us,” and “our” refer to American Vanguard Corporation and its consolidated subsidiaries.

Forward-looking statements in this report, including without limitation, statements relating to the Company’s plans, strategies, objectives, expectations, intentions, and adequacy of resources, are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Investors are cautioned that such forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties. (Refer to PART II, Item 7, Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operation, Risk Factors, of this Annual Report.)

American Vanguard Corporation was incorporated under the laws of the State of Delaware in January 1969 and operates as a holding company. Unless the context otherwise requires, references to the “Company”, or the “Registrant” in this Annual Report refer to American Vanguard Corporation and its consolidated subsidiaries. The Company conducts its business through its subsidiaries, AMVAC Chemical Corporation (“AMVAC”), GemChem, Inc. (“GemChem”), 2110 Davie Corporation (“DAVIE”), AMVAC Chemical UK Ltd. (“Chemical UK”), Quimica Amvac de Mexico S.A. de C.V. (“Quimica Amvac”) (Refer to Export Operations), and Environmental Mediation, Inc.

Based on similar economic and operational characteristics, the Company’s business is aggregated into one reportable segment. Refer to Part I, Item 7 for selective enterprise information.

AMVAC is a California corporation that traces its history from 1945. AMVAC is a specialty chemical manufacturer that develops and markets products for agricultural and commercial uses. It manufactures and formulates chemicals for crops, human and animal health protection. These chemicals which include insecticides, fungicides, molluscicides, growth regulators, and soil fumigants, are marketed in liquid, powder, and granular forms. AMVAC’s business is continually undergoing an evolutionary change. Years ago AMVAC considered itself a distributor-formulator, but now AMVAC primarily manufactures, distributes, and formulates its own proprietary products or custom manufactures or formulates for others.

In December 2004, AMVAC entered into an agreement with Bayer CropScience LP, an affiliate of Bayer AG, to market, sell and distribute Bolster 15G, a soybean pesticide used to control nematodes, through AMVAC’s SmartBox system in key Midwest soybean growing states beginning in the 2005 season. Additionally, in December 2004, AMVAC licensed the trade name Nuvan ® to Syngenta India Limited, a business unit of Syngenta Crop Protection AG. The agreement provides a two-year license to Syngenta India to sell products under the Nuvan name in the animal and public health market, as well as the crop protection market in India. AMVAC will continue to sell products under the Nuvan name in the animal and public health market in over thirty other countries.

In January 2004, AMVAC entered into an agreement with Syngenta Crop Protection (“Syngenta”) to supply Force 3G for use through AMVAC’s SmartBox system beginning in the 2004 season. Force 3G is a corn soil insecticide manufactured and marketed by Syngenta for the control of corn rootworm, wireworm, cutworm and white grub in cotton.

In December 2003, AMVAC acquired certain assets related to the active ingredient dichlorvos (“DDVP”) used in the animal health business and marketed primarily under the trade name Nuvan ® from Novartis Animal Health, Inc. a business unit of Novartis AG. Since 1975, AMVAC has manufactured a technical form of DDVP, used primarily in specialty markets as a broad-spectrum household and specialty insecticide. Nuvan, which is used primarily for animal health to control flies and ecto-parasites, will expand the AMVAC’s animal health

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business as well as its international sales of DDVP. DDVP products are highly effective in controlling in enclosed spaces, a wide variety of pests including mosquitoes, flies, and cockroaches. AMVAC has been the primary generator of data to support the registration of DDVP products worldwide.

In February 2003, AMVAC acquired certain assets associated with the global Pre-Harvest Protection business from Pace International, L.L.C. (“Pace”). Pace’s global Pre-Harvest Protection business encompassed five product lines:

Page No.
Item 1.
Deadline ® —a line of snail and slug control products used in agriculture and by commercial landscapers

Hivol ® 44—a plant growth regulator used primarily in citrus

Hinder ™ —a deer and rabbit repellant

Bac-Master ™ —streptomycin antibiotic used primarily to control Fire Blight (a bacterial disease of apples and peers that kills blossoms, shoots, limbs, and sometimes, entire trees and

Leffingwell ® Supreme 415 Oil ™ —a horticultural oil insecticide for aphids, mites and scale.

Pace will continue to manufacture Deadline and Hinder under a multi-year supply agreement with AMVAC. Additionally, AMVAC has an option to acquire Pace’s Deadline manufacturing facility in Yakima County, Washington.

In January 2003, AMVAC acquired certain assets associated with the Evital 5G cranberry herbicide business conducted in the United States from Syngenta.

In July 2002, AMVAC acquired from Flowserve U.S. Inc. (“Flowserve”), all or substantially all of its assets associated with the SmartBox closed delivery system. The SmartBox system electronically dispenses granular crop protection products, replacing older technology that utilizes mechanically driven sprockets and chains. The state-of-the-art SmartBox technology allows farmers to apply crop protection products accurately and efficiently while avoiding contact with the product. The computer controller enables farmers to monitor and change application rates while planting and provides the farmers with a permanent record of application. Initially the SmartBox system was developed by Flowserve in partnership with E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Company (“DuPont”) and Zeneca, Inc. which partnership commenced in 1995. At the same time it acquired certain assets associated with the Fortress ® corn soil insecticide business from DuPont in 2000, AMVAC assumed DuPont’s SmartBox partnership interest. Thereafter, Zeneca, Inc. abandoned its SmartBox partnership interest. In 2000, AMVAC sold its Fortress 5G (5% active ingredient—chlorethoxyfoxs) corn soil insecticide to the American farmer in the SmartBox system. Later that year, AMVAC secured exclusive marketing rights in the U.S. Bayer CropScience’s Aztec ® 4.67G corn soil insecticide which also can be applied through the SmartBox system. By offering both products, AMVAC provides farmers a choice of two different chemistries to apply through the SmartBox system. This allows farmers to rotate products from year to year, thereby preventing insects from building resistance to any one specific product. AMVAC is currently looking at utilizing this system for other crops where the safety features of the system would provide an important benefit.

In July 2002, AMVAC acquired from Syngenta all U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) end-use product registrations and data support as well as a license to the Ambush 25WP trademark (wettable powder formulation) in the United States. Syngenta will continue to own the rights and assets of the liquid formulation (Ambush 2EC) in the United States.

In June 2002, AMVAC acquired certain assets associated with the Folex cotton defoliant business conducted in the United States by Aventis CropScience USA prior to Bayer AG’s acquisition of Aventis CropScience S.A. The purchase included the EPA end-use product registration for Folex as well as the Folex

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trademark and product inventories. In addition, an existing supply agreement with Bayer Corporation providing for the supply of active ingredient and access to data in support of the end-use product registration has been assigned to AMVAC, allowing AMVAC to purchase the active ingredient in Folex from Bayer. Bayer markets a product under its trademark Def ® which is similar to Folex, and continues to sell Def following its acquisition of Aventis.

In addition to the product line acquisitions disclosed above, in August 2001, AMVAC acquired certain assets associated with the Phosdrin ® international insecticide business from BASF Agro B.V. The purchase included all active registrations, access to the underlying data for the registrations and trademarks in 55 countries. AMVAC has manufactured and formulated Phosdrin ® for the international market at its Los Angeles facility since 1985. Additionally, AMVAC has been the primary data generator and data holder for the product since 1989. In May 2000, AMVAC acquired certain assets associated with the worldwide Dacthal ® (“DCPA”) herbicide business from GB Biosciences Corporation. The purchase included the worldwide rights, including U.S. EPA registration rights and similar regulatory entities in other countries, manufacturing and process technology, trademarks and all product related intellectual property. Dacthal has been sold for weed control in crops such as onions, garlic, cauliflower, cotton and strawberries for approximately thirty years. In February 2000, AMVAC acquired certain assets associated with the Fortress ® soil insecticide business from DuPont. AMVAC acquired all U.S. EPA and state registrations, manufacturing and process technology, trademarks and all product related intellectual property. The acquisition included certain rights and obligations to the SmartBox delivery system as well as DuPont’s existing finished and semi-finished inventory including the closed delivery system containers. Fortress insecticide provides control of the corn rootworm, a devastating pest in corn. In 1998, AMVAC acquired certain assets associated with the U.S. Dibrom ® insecticide business from Valent USA Corporation (“Valent”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sumitomo Chemical Company, Limited. The purchase included all EPA registration rights and state registrations of the product line, an extensive data package, inventory, trademarks and all product related intellectual property. AMVAC had manufactured and formulated Dibrom ® prior to its acquisition, dating back to 1981, for Valent and formerly for Chevron, which had held the U.S. rights to Dibrom ® prior to Valent. AMVAC has owned certain international rights to the Dibrom ® product line since 1991. In 1997 AMVAC purchased the rights, title and interest to Vapam ® (Metam Sodium), a soil fumigant, from Zeneca, Inc. The purchase included inventories of Vapam ® , EPA registration rights issued under Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (“FIFRA”) and certain other assets. AMVAC has manufactured Metam Sodium at its Los Angeles facility since 1988. In 1993 AMVAC purchased from Du Pont the rights, title and interest (including Du Pont’s EPA registration rights) in Bidrin ® , an insecticide for cotton crops, and in 1991 AMVAC purchased from Rhone-Poulenc AG Company its Napthalene Acetic Acid (“NAA”) plant growth regulator product line including Rhone-Poulenc’s EPA registration rights.

The agricultural chemical industry in general is cyclical in nature. The demand for AMVAC’s products tends to be slightly seasonal. Seasonal usage, however, does not necessarily follow calendar dates, but more closely follows varying growing seasonal patterns, weather conditions and weather related pressure from pests, and customer marketing programs and requirements.

AMVAC does not believe that backlog is a significant factor in its business. AMVAC primarily sells its products on the basis of purchase orders, although it has entered into requirements contracts with certain customers.

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United Agri Products, Helena Chemical Company and Agriliance accounted for 18%, 12% and 11%, respectively of the Company’s sales in 2004. Helena Chemical Company and United Agri Products accounted for 11% each of the Company’s sales in 2003. United Agri Products, Agriliance and Helena Chemical Company accounted for 22%, 12% and 10%, respectively of the Company’s sales in 2002. United Agri Products, Helena and Agriliance are distributors of the Company’s products.

AMVAC faces competition from many domestic and foreign manufacturers in its marketplaces. Competition in AMVAC’s marketplace is based primarily on efficacy, price, safety and ease of application. Many of such competitors are larger and have substantially greater financial and technical resources than AMVAC. AMVAC’s ability to compete depends on its ability to develop additional applications for its current products and expand its product lines and customer base. AMVAC competes principally on the basis of the quality of its products price and the technical service and support given to its customers. The inability of AMVAC to effectively compete in several of AMVAC’s principal products would have a material adverse effect on AMVAC’s results of operations.

Generally, the treatment against pests of any kind is broad in scope, there being more than one way or one product for treatment, eradication, or suppression. AMVAC has attempted to position itself in smaller niche markets which are no longer of strong focus to larger companies. These markets are small by nature, require significant and intensive management input, ongoing product research, and are near product maturity. These types of markets tend not to attract larger chemical companies due to the smaller volume demand, and larger chemical companies have been divesting themselves of products that fall into such niches as is evidenced by AMVAC’s successful acquisitions of certain product lines.

AMVAC’s proprietary product formulations are protected, to the extent possible, as trade secrets and, to a lesser extent, by patents and trademarks. Although AMVAC considers that, in the aggregate, its trademarks, licenses, and patents constitute a valuable asset, it does not regard its business as being materially dependent upon any single or several trademarks, licenses, or patents.

AMVAC’s products also receive protection afforded by the effect of the FIFRA legislation that makes it unlawful to sell any pesticide in the United States unless such pesticide has first been registered by the EPA as well as under similar state laws. Substantially all of AMVAC’s products are subject to EPA registration and re-registration requirements and are conditionally registered in accordance with FIFRA. This licensing by EPA is based, among other things, on data demonstrating that the product will not cause unreasonable adverse effects on human health or the environment when it is used according to approved label directions. All states where any of AMVAC’s products are used require a registration by that specific state before it can be marketed or used in that state. State registrations are renewed annually, as appropriate. The EPA and state agencies have required, and may require in the future, that certain scientific data requirements be performed on registered products sold by AMVAC. AMVAC, on its own behalf and in joint efforts with other registrants, has furnished, and is currently furnishing, certain required data relative to specific products.

Under FIFRA, the federal government requires registrants to submit a wide range of scientific data to support U.S. registrations. This requirement results in operating expenses in such areas as testing and the

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production of new products. AMVAC expensed $3,081,000, $4,669,000 and $2,940,000 during 2004, 2003 and 2002 respectively, related to gathering this information. Based on facts known today, AMVAC estimates it will spend approximately $3,000,000 in 2005. Because scientific analyses are constantly improving, it cannot be determined with certainty whether or not new or additional tests may be required by the regulatory authorities. Additionally, while FIFRA Good Laboratory Practice standards specify the minimum practices and procedures which must be followed in order to ensure the quality and integrity of data related to these tests submitted to the EPA, there can be no assurance the EPA will not request certain tests/studies be repeated. AMVAC expenses these costs on an as incurred basis. See also PART II, Item 7 of this Annual Report for discussions pertaining to research and development expenses.

AMVAC utilizes numerous firms as well as internal sources to supply the various raw materials and components used by AMVAC in manufacturing its products. Many of these materials are readily available from domestic sources. In those instances where there is a single source of supply or where the source is not domestic, AMVAC seeks to secure its supply by either long-term arrangements or advance purchases from its suppliers. AMVAC believes that it is considered to be a valued customer to such sole-source suppliers. Recent increases in energy costs are expected to have an adverse impact on the Company, although the ultimate impact cannot be measured at this time.

During 2004, AMVAC continued activities to address environmental issues associated with its facility (the “Facility”) in Commerce, California.

In March 1997, the California Environmental Protection Agency Department of Toxic Substances Control (“DTSC”) accepted the Facility into its Expedited Remedial Action Program (“ERAP”). Under this program, the Facility must prepare and implement an environmental investigation plan. Depending on the findings of the investigation, the Facility may also be required to develop and implement remedial measures to address any historical environmental impairment. The environmental investigation and any remediation activities related to ten underground storage tanks at the Facility, which had been closed in 1995, will also be addressed by AMVAC under ERAP.

Soil and groundwater characterization activities began in December 2002 in accordance with the Site Investigation Plan that was approved by the DTSC. Additional activities were conducted in 2003 and 2004 with oversight provided by the DTSC. Additional investigation is planned over the next year under the oversight of the DTSC. Potential remediation activities may be initiated in late 2005. These investigation and potential remediation activities are required at all facilities that currently have, or in the past had, hazardous waste storage permits. Because AMVAC previously held a hazardous waste management permit, AMVAC is subject to these requirements. The cost associated with the potential remediation activities is not expected to have a material impact on the Company’s financial statements.

AMVAC is subject to numerous federal and state laws and governmental regulations concerning environmental matters and employee health and safety at the Commerce, California and Axis, Alabama facilities. AMVAC continually adapts its manufacturing process to the environmental control standards of the various regulatory agencies. The U.S. EPA and other federal and state agencies have the authority to promulgate regulations that could have an impact on AMVAC’s operations.

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AMVAC expends substantial funds to minimize the discharge of materials in the environment and to comply with the governmental regulations relating to protection of the environment. Wherever feasible, AMVAC recovers raw materials and increases product yield in order to partially offset increasing pollution abatement costs.

The Company is committed to a long-term environmental protection program that reduces emissions of hazardous materials into the environment, as well as to the remediation of identified existing environmental concerns. Federal and state authorities may seek fines and penalties for violation of the various laws and governmental regulations. As part of its continuing environmental program, except as disclosed in PART I, Item 3, Legal Proceedings, of this Annual Report, the Company has been able to comply with such proceedings and orders without any materially adverse effect on its business.

As of March 11, 2005 , the Company employed approximately 229 persons . AMVAC, on an ongoing basis, due to the seasonality of its business, uses temporary contract personnel to perform certain duties primarily related to packaging of its products. The Company believes it is cost beneficial to employ temporary contract personnel. None of the Company’s employees are subject to a collective bargaining agreement.

The Company believes it maintains positive relations with its employees.

The Company opened an office in 1998 in Mexico to conduct business in Mexico and related areas. The office operates under the name Quimica AMVAC De Mexico S.A. de C.V. and markets chemical products for agricultural and commercial uses.

The Company opened an office in August 1994, in the United Kingdom to conduct business in the European chemical market. The office, operating under the name AMVAC Chemical UK Ltd., focuses on developing product registration and distributor networks for AMVAC’s product lines throughout Europe. The office is located in Surrey, England, a city southwest of London. The operating results of this operation were not material to the Company’s total operating results for the years ended December 31, 2004, 2003 and 2002.

The Company classifies as export sales all products bearing foreign labeling shipped to a foreign destination.

The Company continually evaluates insurance levels for product liability, property damage and other potential areas of risk. Management believes its facilities and equipment are adequately insured against loss from usual business risks. The Company has purchased claims made products liability insurance. There can be no assurance, however, that such products liability coverage insurance will continue to be available to the Company, or if available, that it will be provided at an economical cost to the Company.

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GemChem is a California corporation incorporated in 1991 and purchased by the Company in 1994. GemChem is a national chemical distributor. GemChem, in addition to purchasing key raw materials for the Company, also sells into the pharmaceutical, cosmetic and nutritional markets. Prior to the acquisition, GemChem acted in the capacity as the domestic sales force for the Company (from September 1991).

DAVIE currently owns real estate for corporate use only. See also PART I, Item 2 of this Annual Report.


EMI is an environmental consulting firm.

The Company makes available free of charge (through its website, ), its Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, and all amendments to those reports as soon as reasonably practicable after such material is electronically filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). Such reports are also available free of charge on the SEC’s website, . Also available free of charge on the Company’s website are our Audit Committee, Compensation Committee and Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee Charters, our Code of Conduct and Ethics, our Employee Complaint Procedures for Accounting and Auditing Matters and our policy on Stockholder Nomination and Communication. The Company’s Internet website and the information contained therein or incorporated therein are not intended to be incorporated into this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

The Company’s corporate headquarters are located in Newport Beach, California. This facility is leased. See PART IV, Item 15 of this report for further information.

AMVAC owns in fee the Facility constituting approximately 152,000 square feet of improved land in Commerce, California (“Commerce”) on which its West-Coast manufacturing and some of its warehouse facilities and offices are located.

DAVIE owns in fee approximately 72,000 square feet of warehouse, office and laboratory space on approximately 118,000 square feet of land in Commerce, California, which is leased to AMVAC.

In 2001, AMVAC completed the acquisition of a manufacturing facility from DuPont. The facility is one of three such units located on DuPont’s 510 acre complex in Axis, Alabama. The acquisition consisted of a long-term ground lease of 25 acres and the purchase of all improvements thereon. The facility is a multi-purpose plant designed primarily to manufacture pyrethroids and organophosphates. The acquisition increased AMVAC’s capacity while also providing flexibility and geographic diversity. (Refer to PART II, Item 7, Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operation of this Annual Report.)

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The Facility’s production areas are designed to run on a continuous twenty-four hour per day basis. AMVAC regularly adds chemical processing equipment to enhance its production capabilities. AMVAC believes its facilities are in good operating condition and are suitable and adequate for AMVAC’s foreseeable needs, have flexibility to change products, and can produce at greater rates as required. Facilities and equipment are insured against losses from fire as well as other usual business risks. The Company knows of no material defects in title to, or encumbrances on, any of its properties except that substantially all of the Company’s assets are pledged as collateral under the Company’s loan agreements with its primary lender. For further information, refer to note 3 of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements in PART IV, Item 15 of this Annual Report.

AMVAC owns approximately 42 acres of unimproved land in Texas for possible future expansion.

GemChem’s, Chemical UK’s and Quimica AMVAC’s facilities consist of administration and sales offices which are leased.

The Company believes its properties to be suitable and adequate for its current purposes. The Company knows of no material defects in title to, or encumbrances on, any of its properties except that substantially all of the Company’s assets are pledged as collateral under the Company’s loan agreements with its primary lender. For further information, refer to note 2 of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements in Part IV, Item 15 of this Annual Report.

AMVAC and the Company were served with complaints in February 1997. The actions were filed in the Circuit Court of the Second Circuit, State of Hawaii entitled Board of Water Supply of the County of Maui v. Shell Oil Co., et. al. The suit named as defendants the Company, AMVAC, Shell Oil Company, The Dow Chemical Company, Occidental Chemical Company, Occidental Petroleum Corporation, Occidental Chemical Corporation, and Brewer Environmental Industry, Inc. Maui Pineapple Company was joined as a cross-defendant. The Complaint alleged that between two and four of the Board’s wells had been contaminated with 1,2-dibromo-3-chloropropane (“DBCP”) in excess of the maximum contaminant level (“MCL”). In addition, the Board of Water Supply contended that future wells may exceed the MCL level and would need remediation. While the suit could only include damages that had incurred by the time of the scheduled trial date of October 18, 1999, future suits could be filed as a well became contaminated. On August 2, 1999, a global settlement was reached, which included the remediation of the existing contaminated wells in addition to the installation of filtration devices on other wells for the next forty years on the island of Maui. The cash settlement was three million dollars ($3,000,000) of which AMVAC’s (and the Company’s) portion was five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000). [As to matters independent of indemnity issues, the Company recovered four hundred thousand dollars ($400,000) from one of its insurers.] The settlement agreement obligates the defendants to pay for the ongoing operation and maintenance of the filtration devices for up to forty years. The annual costs of operation and maintenance per well is estimated to be approximately sixty-nine thousand dollars ($69,000), to be adjusted annually by the consumer price index. The defendants are also obligated to pay between ninety and one-hundred percent for the cost of the installation of filtration devices on other wells that may exceed the defined maximum contaminant level in the next forty years. The number of future wells needing remediation could be less than six or more than that amount, however, the maximum number of wells subject to remediation under the agreement is fifty. AMVAC’s share of the ongoing operation and maintenance charges and installation of additional devices on other wells is seventeen and one-half percent. The obligations of the defendants under this agreement are secured by a twenty million-dollar letter of credit obtained by Dow Chemical. AMVAC will pay seventeen and one-half percent of the annual cost of the letter

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of credit (which does not have a material impact on the Company’s financial statements) directly to Dow Chemical. On June 10, 2004, AMVAC was notified that the plaintiff had completed conversion of the H’Poko wells from a temporary to a permanent filtration facility. After credits of approximately eight hundred thousand dollars ($800,000) from the settlement were deducted from the one million eight hundred thousand dollars ($1,800,000) cost of a two-vessel system, the claim to the defendants was one million dollars ($1,000,000). The cost of the temporary facility was included in the original settlement. On January 21, 2005, defendants were notified that the claim by the plaintiff would be submitted in approximately sixty days. AMVAC’s share of the permanent filtration system will be one hundred and seventy-five thousand dollars ($175,000) which has been accrued for/reserved by the Company. Thus far, no additional wells have been remediated nor have there been ongoing operation and maintenance charges.

In October 1997, AMVAC was served with a Complaint(s) in which it was named as a defendant, filed in the Circuit Court, First Circuit, State of Hawaii and in the Circuit Court of the Second Circuit, State of Hawaii (two identical suits) entitled Patrickson, et. al. v. Dole Food Co., et. al (“Patrickson Case”) alleging damages sustained from injuries caused by plaintiffs’ exposure to DBCP while applying the product in their native countries. Other named defendants are: Dole Food Co., Dole Fresh Fruit, Dole Fresh Fruit International, Pineapple Growers Association of Hawaii, Shell Oil Company, Dow Chemical Company, Occidental Chemical Corporation, Standard Fruit Company, Standard Fruit & Steamship, Standard Fruit Company De Costa Rica, Standard Fruit Company De Honduras, Chiquita Brands, Chiquita Brands International, Martrop Trading Corporation, and Del Monte Fresh Produce. (American Vanguard Corporation has not been sued in these actions.) The ten named plaintiffs are citizens of four countries—Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, and Ecuador. Punitive damages are sought against each defendant. The plaintiffs were banana workers and allege that they were exposed to DBCP in applying the product in their native countries. The case was also filed as a class action on behalf of other workers so exposed in these four countries. The plaintiffs” allege sterility and other injuries. (The plaintiffs’ attorneys (from South Carolina) have also represented foreign banana workers in the Texas and Mississippi matters discussed below.) For the last seven years, the focus of the case has been on procedural issues. The defendants moved to dismiss under the doctrine of forum non conveniens . Under this doctrine, the foreign plaintiffs would have to sue in their own countries rather than using the United States courts. The plaintiffs wish to keep the cases in the United States and have them remanded to state court. The plaintiffs also contend that the federal court does not have jurisdiction. In September 1998, the court granted defendants’ motion to dismiss based on the grounds of forum non conveniens . A number of conditions were imposed including consent to jurisdiction in the four foreign countries for the ten named plaintiffs, use of discovery taken in the United States, the requirement that the plaintiffs file suits in their home countries by December 9, 1998, and the agreement by defendants to pay any judgment, if any, that might be entered in the foreign countries. The court order also provided that the plaintiffs could return to the United States if the foreign countries refused to accept jurisdiction. The court then dismissed the case on March 8, 1999. The plaintiffs subsequently appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal. The Ninth Circuit issued its decision on May 30, 2001, holding that the federal court did not have jurisdiction. A petition for writ of certiorari (a writ of a superior court to call up the records of an inferior court or quasi-judicial body) was filed in United States Supreme Court on October 5, 2001 and the United States Supreme Court subsequently granted a hearing. Oral argument was held on January 22, 2003. On April 22, 2003, the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in favor of the plaintiffs, holding there was no jurisdiction in federal court. This vacates the order dismissing the case under the forum non conveniens doctrine. One September 5, 2003, the U.S. District Court in Honolulu issued an order that the case will be remanded to state court unless there is an objection filed by September 18, 2003. As the U.S. Supreme Court has issued its final decision on the lack of federal court jurisdiction, the case will be remanded to state. Once the case reaches state court, the defendants will have to decide whether they will file a motion to dismiss under forum non conveniens pursuant to state court procedures. No activity took place on this case throughout 2004 or to date as apparently, the suit has not been officially received in the state court upon remand. The plaintiffs’ attorneys reported that the ten plaintiffs filed suit in their home countries by December 9, 1998,

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alleging in excess of two million United States dollars ($2,000,000) per plaintiff. The suit in Guatemala was served on AMVAC in March 2001, but no defendant has been required to answer. Suits in the other countries have not been served. AMVAC has engaged local attorneys in the countries to defend these foreign suits. No discovery has taken place on the individual claims of the plaintiffs. It is too early to provide any evaluation of the likelihood of an unfavorable outcome at this time. Without such discovery, it is unknown whether any of the plaintiffs was exposed to AMVAC brand DBCP or what statute of limitation defenses may apply. AMVAC intends to contest the cases vigorously.

On or about October 1, 2003, the Company was indirectly advised of a possible claim for ground water contamination on the Island of Maui. (This is separate and distinct from Item 1 (A) above.) The Company was provided with communications between Maui Land & Pineapple Company, Inc. (“Maui Pine”) and Hawaii Water Service Company (“HWSC”). HWSC is a non-municipally owned public water utility owning three water wells allegedly contaminated with DBCP and 1,2,3-tri-chloropropane (“TCP”). HWSC further alleges that the wells were contaminated by the above mentioned chemicals manufactured, marketed, distributed and/or sold by Maui Pine, Maui Pineapple Company (collectively, “Maui Pine”), The Dow Chemical Company, Dow AgroSciences, LLC (collectively, “Dow”), Occidental Petroleum Corporation, Occidental Chemical Corporation (collectively, “Occidental”), Shell Oil Company, Shell Chemical Company (collectively, “Shell”), American Vanguard Corporation, AMVAC Chemical Company (collectively, “AMVAC”), BEI Hawaii and Brewer Environmental Industries Holdings, Inc. (collectively “Brewer”). On or about October 17, 2003, all parties agreed to a tolling of the applicable statute of limitations in order to enter into mediation proceedings. The Company has been advised that the total claim could approximate four million dollars ($4,000,000), inclusive of future expenses for operations and maintenance of filtration devices on the wells. The parties met with an independent mediator on January 14 and 15, 2004 to discuss this claim. On January 15, 2004, the Company reached a settlement with HWSC for fifty-five thousand dollars ($55,000.00), contingent upon obtaining a court order approving the settlement as one made in good faith. The settlement includes future expenses for operations and maintenance. As not all parties settled at the mediation, HWSC filed suit in the Circuit Court of the Second Circuit, State of Hawaii on February 1, 2004. The non-settling parties subsequently removed the case to federal court, which has delayed the filing of motions in state court to approve the settlement as one made in good faith. The case was remanded to state court on January 7, 2005. With the case back in state court, a motion for approval of the good faith settlement will be made. Once the court approves the settlement, the fifty-five thousand dollars ($55,000) will be paid to HWSC to conclude AMVAC’s involvement.

In May 1996, AMVAC was served with five complaints in which it is named as a defendant. (These complaints were filed by the same attorneys representing the Patrickson plaintiffs in Hawaii.) The complaints are entitled Edgar Arroyo-Gonzalez v. Coahoma Chemical Co., Inc., et al, Amilcar Belteton-Rivera v. Coahoma Chemical Co., Inc., et al, Eulogio Garzon-Larreategui v. Coahoma Chemical Co., Inc., et al, Valentin Valdez v. Coahoma Chemical Co., Inc., et al and Carlos Nicanor Espinola-E v. Coahoma Chemical Co., Inc., et al. Other named defendants are: Coahoma Chemical Co. Inc., Shell Oil Company, Dow Chemical Co., Occidental Chemical Co., Standard Fruit Co., Standard Fruit and Steamship Co., Dole Food Co., Inc., Dole Fresh Fruit Co., Chiquita Brands, Inc., Chiquita Brands International, Inc. and Del Monte Fresh Produce, N.A. The cases were filed in the Circuit Court of Harrison County, First Judicial District of Mississippi. Each case alleged damages sustained from injuries caused by plaintiffs’ (who are former banana workers and citizens of a Central American country) exposure to DBCP while applying the product in their native countries. These cases have been removed to U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, Southern Division. The federal court granted defense motions to dismiss in each case pursuant to the doctrine of forum non conveniens . Unlike the Patrickson case, the court did not establish detailed procedures or deadlines for the filing of suits in the foreign countries by the five plaintiffs. Defendants have learned that plaintiff Valentin Valdez has filed a suit in Panama, but they

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have not been served. On January 19, 2001, the court issued an unpublished decision, finding that there was jurisdiction in federal court, but remanded just one case (Espinola) back to the trial court to determine if a stipulation which limited the plaintiff’s recovery to fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) was binding. If the stipulation is binding, that case will be remanded to state court. If the stipulation is not binding, that case will be dismissed along with the others, requiring the plaintiffs to litigate in their native countries. A deposition of the plaintiff Espinola was scheduled but was never taken. The federal court then ordered remand to state court. The attorneys for Dow Chemical Co. filed a motion for reconsideration, explaining that the plaintiffs attorneys did not produce their client for deposition. This motion is still pending. No activity took place on this matter throughout 2004 or to date. No discovery has taken place on the individual claims of these plaintiffs. If the Espinola case is tried in Mississippi state court, the maximum recovery is fifty thousand dollars ($50,000). Without discovery, it is unknown whether any of the plaintiffs were exposed to the Company’s product or what statute of limitation defense may apply. AMVAC intends to contest the cases vigorously. It is too early to provide an evaluation of the likelihood of an unfavorable outcome at this time.

In November 1999, AMVAC was served with three complaints filed in the 29 th Judicial District Court for the Parish of St. Charles, State of Louisiana entitled Pedro Rodrigues et. al v. Amvac Chemical Corporation et. al, Andres Puerto, et. al v. Amvac Chemical Corporation, et. al and Eduardo Soriano, et al v. Amvac Chemical Corporation et. al. Other named defendants are: Dow Chemical Company, Occidental Chemical Corporation, Shell Oil Company, Standard Fruit, Dole Food, Chiquita Brands, Tela Railroad Company, Compania Palma Tica, and Del Monte Fresh Produce. American Vanguard Corporation is not named as a defendant. These suits were filed in 1996, they were not served until November 1999. (These complaints were filed in association with the same attorneys who have handled the Delgado and Carcamo matters listed below.) The complaints allege personal injuries from alleged exposure to DBCP (punitive damages are also sought). The plaintiffs (approximately three thousand nine hundred) are primarily from the countries of the Philippines, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Guatemala. In November 1999, the cases were removed to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. The plaintiffs filed a motion to remand the cases back to the state court in December 1999. In February 2000, the plaintiffs’ attorneys withdrew their motion to remand the cases to state court without prejudice, stating that they would wait for an appellate court determination on similar issues in the Mississippi and Texas cases. Dow Chemical Company, Shell Oil Company and Occidental Chemical Corporation contend that the vast majority of these plaintiffs were included in the settlement of some fifteen thousand plaintiffs mentioned in the Delgado and Carcamo matters discussed below. In September 2002, the plaintiffs’ attorneys finally evaluated their list of plaintiffs who had settled previously. They agreed that the plaintiffs who settled with Dow Chemical Company, Shell Oil Company, and Occidental Chemical Corporation were now only proceeding against the grower defendants. The plaintiffs who had not settled previously would continue with the suit against all defendants, including AMVAC. Thus, out of the approximately three thousand nine-hundred plaintiffs, about three hundred and fourteen are left (one hundred and sixty-seven are from Ecuador, one hundred and two are from Costa Rica and forty-five are from Guatemala). The plaintiffs filed a consolidated third amended complaint in October 2002 with Soriano as the lead case. Each plaintiff seeks in excess of the minimum jurisdiction of federal court for diversity of citizenship cases, seventy-five thousand dollars ($75,000). AMVAC has answered the third amended complaint. With the United States Supreme Court holding there was no federal court jurisdiction in the Patrickson case, the federal court judge issued an order to the parties in April 2003 as to why the cases should not be remanded to state court. The defendants argued that there was still federal court jurisdiction because of diversity of citizenship, but this diversity did not exist at the time the suites were originally filed in 1996 and accordingly, the court remanded the cases to state court in June 2003. In state court, the three cases were assigned to two different judges. The defendants considered filing another motion to dismiss based on forum non conveniens . In Louisiana, all defendants must join in making such a motion. By this time, unfavorable anti- forum non conveniens laws had passed or were pending in several of the

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countries where the plaintiffs resided. Several of the defendants were against consenting to jurisdiction in those countries, which is a condition required by an order of dismissal under forum non conveniens . As a result, these cases will now be litigated in state court in Louisiana. The state court has not yet scheduled any case management or status conferences. It is likely that the three cases will be reconsolidated in state court. No activity took place on this matter throughout 2004 or to date. As in the other banana worker’s cases, no discovery has taken place on the individual claims of the plaintiffs. Thus, it is unknown as to how many of the plaintiffs claim exposure to AMVAC’s product and whether their claims are barred by applicable statutes of limitation. AMVAC intends to vigorously contest these cases. It is too early to provide any evaluation of the likelihood of an unfavorable outcome at this time.

These matters involve an earlier round of litigation by foreign banana workers. The complaints filed in the United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit entitled Franklin Rodriquez Delgado, et al., Jorge Colindres Carcamo, individually and on behalf of all other similarly situated, et al., Juan Ramon Valdez, et al., and Isae Carcamo v. Shell Oil Company, et al. The complaints are for personal injuries from alleged exposure to DBCP. AMVAC was not sued by the plaintiffs but was sued on a third party complaint by Dow Chemical Company. These cases were originally filed in various state courts in Texas and removed by the defendants to federal court. By order dated July 11, 1995, the United States District Court granted defendants’ motion to dismiss pursuant to the doctrine of forum non conveniens , requiring the plaintiffs to sue in their native countries. The court required the defendants to consent to jurisdiction in the foreign countries along with other conditions. As AMVAC had not been sued by the plaintiffs directly, it refused to consent to jurisdiction in the foreign countries for these plaintiffs. In 1995, Dow Chemical Company dismissed its third party complaint against AMVAC without prejudice. Subsequently, Dow Chemical Company and Shell Oil Company settled with these plaintiffs as well as with about fifteen thousand other banana workers represented by the plaintiffs’ law firm (not the firm representing the Patrickson and Mississippi plaintiffs). Dow Chemical Company was then dismissed by the plaintiffs with prejudice in September 1997. Two intervenors (who are represented by the same attorneys as the plaintiffs in the Patrickson and Mississippi cases) have filed a motion in opposition to this dismissal. The plaintiffs appealed to the Fifth Circuit on the order of dismissal under forum non conveniens . In October 2000, the Fifth Circuit found federal court jurisdiction and affirmed the dismissals based on forum non conveniens . The United States Supreme Court refused to accept a hearing at that time. While AMVAC is not presently a party in this lawsuit having been dismissed without prejudice, the case is still pending, with the focus now shifted to the grower defendants. These remaining claims are apparently now being remanded to state courts in Texas.

In March 2004, twenty-five plaintiffs, all residents of Nicaragua, filed suit in state court in Los Angeles County, California, claiming personal injuries from alleged exposure to DBCP while working on banana plantations in their home country. The complaint is entitled Tellez et al v. Dole Food Company, Inc. et al. The named defendants are: Dole Food Company, Inc., Dole Fresh Fruit Company, Standard Fruit Company, Standard Fruit and Steamship Company, Dow Chemical Company, and AMVAC. American Vanguard Corporation is not named as a defendant. Punitive damages are also sought against all defendants. The plaintiffs claim personal injuries for sterility, reduced sperm counts and other reproductive injuries. They claim exposure from working on banana plantations in Nicaragua from dermal contact with DBCP, inhalation of vapors, and from drinking water allegedly contaminated with DBCP. AMVAC was served with the complaint on April 12, 2004 and filed an answer on May 5, 2004. On May 6, 2004, Dow Chemical removed the case from state court to the United States District Court for the Central District of California. The case was subsequently remanded to state court. On September 2, 2004, the plaintiffs were permitted to file an amended complaint that dropped seven plaintiffs and added eighteen others, for a total of thirty-six plaintiffs. To date, the parties have worked on a comprehensive case

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management order that would permit obtaining plaintiffs’ medical records in Nicaragua and starting depositions of eighteen of the plaintiffs in Los Angeles and independent medical examination scheduled to take place in May 2005. At a status conference on February 9, 2005, a trial date for July 17, 2006 was scheduled. No discovery has yet taken place on the individual claims of the plaintiffs. Thus, it is unknown as to how many of the thirty-six plaintiffs, if any, actually claim exposure to AMVAC’s product, the nature and extent of their injuries, and whether their claims are barred by applicable statutes of limitation. AMVAC intends to vigorously contest this case. It is too early to provide any evaluation of the likelihood of an unfavorable outcome at this time.

In January 2003, three new cases were filed in Nicaragua. This time defendants besides Dow Chemical Company, Shell Oil Company and Dole Food were sued, including AMVAC, Occidental Chemical Corporation, Del Monte Fresh Produce, Chiquita Brands, Ameribrom and three Chevron entities. It is reported that these plaintiffs claim damages for sterility and that there are approximately three hundred and fifty plaintiffs named in these three cases. It has also been reported that a suit seeking damages for personal injuries based on alleged exposure to DBCP in groundwater has been filed in Nicaragua. AMVAC has not been served to date and has not seen the complaints. AMVAC disputes that the Nicaraguan courts have jurisdiction over it. AMVAC intends to vigorously contest these cases. It is too early to provide any evaluation of the likelihood of an unfavorable outcome at this time.

The Company may be, from time to time, involved in other legal proceedings arising in the ordinary course of its business. The results of litigation cannot be predicted with certainty. The Company has and will continue to expend resources and incur expenses in connection with these proceedings. There can be no assurance that the Company will be successful in these proceedings. While the Company continually evaluates insurance levels for product liability, property damage and other potential areas of risk, an adverse determination in one or more of these proceedings could subject the Company to significant liabilities, which could have a material adverse effect on its financial condition and operating results.


No matters were submitted during the fourth quarter of 2004 to a vote of security holders, through the solicitation of proxies or otherwise.

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The Company’s .10 par value common stock (“Common Stock”) is listed on the American Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol AVD (since January 1998). The Company’s Common Stock traded on The NASDAQ Stock Market under the symbol AMGD from March 1987 through January 1998.

The following table sets forth the range of high, low and closing sales prices as reported for the Company’s Common Stock for the calendar quarters indicated (as adjusted for stock splits and stock dividends).

As of March 11, 2005, the number of stockholders of the Company’s Common Stock was approximately 1,900, which includes beneficial owners with shares held in brokerage accounts under street name and nominees.

On September 14, 2004, the Company announced that the Board of Directors declared a cash dividend of $.05 per share which was distributed on October 15, 2004 to stockholders of record as of October 1, 2004.

On March 16, 2004, the Company announced that the Board of Directors declared a 3 for 2 stock split and a cash dividend of $.12 per share ($.08 as adjusted for 3 for 2 stock split). Both dividends were distributed on April 16, 2004 to stockholders of record at the close of business on March 26, 2004. The cash dividend was paid on the number of shares outstanding prior to the 3 for 2 stock split. Stockholders entitled to fractional shares resulting from the stock split received cash in lieu of such fractional share based on the closing price of the Company’s common stock on March 26, 2004. Accordingly, all weighted average share and per share amounts have been restated to reflect the stock split.

On September 12, 2003, the Company announced that the Board of Directors declared a cash dividend of $.05 per share ($.033 as adjusted for 3 for 2 stock split announced on March 16, 2004) which was distributed on October 17, 2003 to stockholders of record as of October 3, 2003.

On March 19, 2003, the Company announced that the Board of Directors declared a 3 for 2 stock split and a cash dividend of $.13 per share ($.058 as adjusted for stock splits). Both dividends were distributed on April 11, 2003 to stockholders of record at the close of business on March 28, 2003.

The Company has issued a cash dividend in each of the last nine years dating back to 1996.

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Number of securities
to be issued upon
exercise of
outstanding options,
warrants and rights
exercise price of
options, warrants
and rights
Number of securities
remaining available
for future issuance
under equity
compensation plans
(excluding securities
reflected in column (a))

Equity compensation plans approved by security holders

Equity compensation plans not approved by security holders

1,611,000 317,401

(1) Does not include the American Vanguard Corporation Employee Stock Purchase Plan (approved by security holders in June 2001). Under this plan an aggregate of 600,000 shares of Common Stock may be sold to eligible employees pursuant to the plan. The purchase price shall be equal to 85% of the fair market value of the Company’s Common Stock on the first day of the enrollment period or on the last day of the enrollment period, whichever is lower.

ITEM 6 SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA (in thousands, except for weighted average number of shares and per share data)

Income before income tax expense

Earnings per common share(1)

Earnings per common share—assuming dilution(1)

Long-term debt and capital lease obligations, less current portion

Weighted average shares outstanding(1)

Weighted average shares outstanding—assuming dilution(1)

Dividends per share of common stock(1)

The selected consolidated financial data set forth above with respect to each of the calendar years in the five-year period ended December 31, 2004 have been derived from the Company’s consolidated financial statements and are qualified in their entirety by reference to the more detailed consolidated financial statements

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and the independent registered public accounting firm’s reports thereon which are included elsewhere in this Report on Form 10-K for the three years ended December 31, 2004. See ITEM 7, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.”

(1) The basic and diluted weighted average number of shares outstanding, net income per share and dividend information for all periods presented have been restated to reflect the effects of stock splits and dividends.


13,793,000 10,942,000 2,851,000 $ 72,258,000 $ 58,874,000 $ 13,385,000

The Company reported net income of $14,477,000 or $1.51 per diluted share in 2004 as compared to net income of $10,263,000 or $1.10 per diluted share in 2003. (Net income per share data has been restated to reflect the effect of a 3 for 2 stock split that was distributed on April 16, 2004.)

Net sales in 2004 increased by 21% to $150,855,000 from $124,863,000 in 2003. The record sales levels were as a result of increased sales (primarily attributable to higher sales volume) of the Company’s product lines used for crop protection (primarily on cotton) as well as sales of Bifenthrin, the generic pyrethroid product the Company launched during the first quarter of 2004. Also contributing to the increased sales were sales increases of the Company’s mosquito adulticide which was heavily used as a result of the hurricanes in 2004. There were no unusual or infrequent events or transactions outside of the ordinary course of business, which materially impacted net sales.

Gross profits increased $13,384,000 to $72,258,000 in 2004 from $58,874,000 in 2003. Gross profit margins increased to 48% in 2004 from 47% in 2003. The improvement in gross profit margins was due to the changes in the sales mix of the Company’s products.

Gross profit margins may not be comparable to those of other companies, since some companies include their distribution network in cost of goods sold and the Company, as well as others, include distribution costs in operating expenses (or other line items other than cost of goods sold).

Operating expenses, which are net of other income and expenses, increased by $4,968,000 to $47,300,000 in 2004 from $42,332,000 in 2003. Operating expenses as a percentage of sales were 31% in 2004 as compared to 34% in 2003. The differences in operating expenses by specific departmental costs are as follows:

Selling expenses increased by $1,662,000 to $17,940,000 in 2004 from $16,278,000 in 2003. The increase was due primarily to increased variable selling expenses that relate to both increased sales levels and the product mix of sales.

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General and administrative expenses increased by $3,301,000 to $12,728,000 in 2004 as compared to $9,427,000 in 2003. The increase was due to increases in outside professional expenses, payroll and payroll related costs, and costs related to the amortization of intangible assets in connection with new asset acquisitions. The increase in outside professional expenses include compliance costs of approximately $575,000 in 2004, related to Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

Research and product development costs and regulatory registration expenses declined by $769,000 to $6,956,000 in 2004 from $7,725,000 in 2003. The decline was a result of lower costs incurred to generate scientific data related to the registration.

Freight, delivery and warehousing costs increased $774,000 to $9,676,000 in 2004 as compared to $8,902,000 in 2003 due to the increased sales levels.

Interest costs before capitalized interest and interest income were $1,310,000 in 2004 as compared to $986,000 in 2003. The Company’s average overall debt in 2004 was $37,822,000 as compared to $24,526,000 in 2003. The higher overall debt levels accounted for the higher gross interest costs. The Company recorded $303,000 in interest income in 2003, which primarily relates to income taxes receivable from the state of California as a result of filing amended tax returns for the years ended December 31, 1995 through 1998. (The overall after tax effect of recording the tax benefit due from California (franchise tax) generated $.03 per diluted share in 2003. The refund was received in July 2003.) The Company capitalized $72,000 of interest costs related to construction in progress during 2004 as compared to $323,000 in 2003.

Income tax expense increased by $3,337,000 to $9,256,000 in 2004 as compared to $5,919,000 in 2003. The Company’s effective tax rate was 39.0% in 2004 as compared to 36.5% in 2003. (See note 4 to the Consolidated Financial Statements for additional analysis of the changes in income tax expense.)

Weather patterns can have an impact on the Company’s operations. Weather conditions influence pest population by impacting gestation cycles for particular pests and the effectiveness of some of the Company’s products, among other factors. The end user of some of the Company’s products may, because of weather patterns, delay or intermittently disrupt field work during the planting season which may result in a reduction of the use of some of the Company’s products. During 2004, weather patterns did not have a material adverse effect on the Company’s results of operations.

Because of elements inherent to the Company’s business, such as differing and unpredictable weather patterns, crop growing cycles, changes in product mix of sales, ordering patterns that may vary in timing, and promotional programs, measuring the Company’s performance on a quarterly basis, (gross profit margins on a quarterly basis may vary significantly) even when such comparisons are favorable, is not as meaningful an indicator as full-year comparisons. The primary reason is that the use cycles do not necessarily coincide with financial reporting cycles. Because of the Company’s cost structure, the combination of variable revenue streams, and the changing product mixes, results in varying quarterly levels of profitability.

The Search for Petaluma’s Real Founder

Solving a History Mystery

Petaluma History Podcast , Onstage with Jim & Tom, Phoenix Theater, September 30, 2014., r-to-l: John Sheehy, Katie Watts, Skip Sommer, Chuck Lucas, Tom Gaffey, and Jim Agius with back to camera (photo courtesy of The Phoenix Theater)

A number of years ago, I participated in a podcast interview about early Petaluma history for Onstage with Jim and Tom, hosted by Jim Agius and Tom Gaffey at the Phoenix Theater. Joining me were local historians Katie Watts, Skip Sommer, and Chuck Lucas. In the interview, we discussed at length Garrett W. Keller, who developed the town of Petaluma in 1852, before mysteriously disappearing.

After the podcast was broadcast, a woman claiming to be a descendent of Keller sent us an email informing us that we had it all wrong—her ancestor was not the man we made him out to be, a scam artist who illegally claimed land he didn’t own, divided it up into lots that he then sold to unsuspecting new settlers, and then vanished with the proceeds without a trace. He was actually an honest, well-respected fellow who went on to do good in the world, and who founded a town in Kansas after leaving Petaluma. I made another online search of Garrett W. Keller, but, as usual, finding nothing on the man, filed the woman’s email away

Years later, after accidentally stumbling upon it, I decided to contact the woman. She responded, and after some back and forth and digging around in ancestry records, we determined that she wasn’t in fact a descendant of Garrett W. Keller, but rather a descendant of another Keller who had resided sometime later in Petaluma.

But the point she made about Keller establishing another town in Kansas was a new lead in an otherwise cold case. As anyone who has engaged in researching family genealogy knows, such leads often go nowhere, but sometime they are the thread to a major discovery. Such a breakthrough is fraught with suspense, as it can lead to information that have been deleted, omitted, or else revised in family lore.

Communities are no different. Garrett W. Keller had been a vital part of Petaluma’s creation myth for 170 years. That he himself was something of a blank slate made it easier to fit him into the colorful myth of the wild west scam artist.

1855 map of Petaluma (courtesy of the Sonoma County Library)

Such lore and mythology are important in passing down a sense of shared heritage and social identity, whether in families or cultural groups, apocryphal or not. History through is something different.

As any aspiring family genealogist discovers, it is first and foremost about inquiry, and the willingness to go where the inquiry takes you. Historian Jill Lepore calls it “the art of making an argument about the past by telling a story accountable to evidence.” It’s an art that when done well gives us a richer and perhaps more inclusive humanistic view of our past in order get our bearings in moving forward. It’s always one that’s open to revision as new evidence comes to light.

In the case of Garrett W. Keller, my new evidence initially led me nowhere. In frustration, I turned to the historical sources that identified him as Petaluma’s founder. The first mention of him is in Robert Allan Thompson’s Historical and Descriptive Sketch of Sonoma County, California, published in 1877. Thompson refers to him merely as “Keller,” with no first name nor middle initial.

Historical and Descriptive Sketch of Sonoma County, by Robert A. Thompson, 1877

It’s in J.P. Munro-Fraser’s History of Sonoma County, published in 1880, that he appears as “Garrett W. Keller.” In a footnote on page 260, Munro-Fraser points out that a “Garrett W. Keller” was appointed Petaluma’s first postmaster on February 9, 1852, which leads him apparently to conclude that he was the Keller who originally laid out of the town.

History of Sonoma County, by J.P. Munro-Fraser, 1880

The next county history, 1889’s Pen Pictures From the Garden of the World, An Illustrated History of Sonoma County, written by longtime Petaluma Argus editor Samuel Cassiday, makes no mention of a Keller at all, although Cassiday first arrived in Petaluma in 1854, only two years after Keller had left.

Pen Pictures From the Garden of the World, An Illustrated History of Sonoma County, by Samuel Cassiday, 1889

Tom Gregory’s History of Sonoma County, published in 1911, basically picks up Munro-Fraser’s identification of Garrett W. Keller. The two historians appear to serve as the source of Ed Mannion’s legendary history column “Rear View Mirror,” which ran the Petaluma Argus-Courier in the early 1960s, and served in part as the basis of Adair Heig’s History of Petaluma: A California River Town, published in 1982, with Mannion as an advisor.

History of Petlauma by Adair Heig, 1982

For help finding the primary source of Munro-Fraser’s discovery of Keller as Petaluma’s first postmaster, I turned for help to Katherine J. Rinehart, the former manager of the Sonoma County History & Genealogy Library. She provided me with the copy of an official handwritten record of Sonoma County’s first postmasters in the 1850s. This was apparently the same document Munro-Fraser discovered in his identification of Garrett W. Keller.

Garret V. Keller, Post Master Appointment, National Archives

The first thing I noticed is that Munro-Fraser has incorrectly transcribed Keller’s name. In the handwritten record his first name is spelled “Garret,” with one “t”, and his middle initial is clearly not a W, but instead either a U or a V.

That question led me to a document I found in an online government depository entitled A Register of Officers and Agents, Civil, Military, and Naval in the Service of the United State that had been typeset and printed in 1853 by the U.S. Department of State. In it, a “Garret V. Keller” is listed as the first postmaster of Petaluma, appointed February 9, 1852, and replaced in December, 1852. In a search of, I also found a listing of California postmasters published in the November 15, 1852, edition of the Sacramento Daily Union newspaper, that confirmed “Garret V. Keller” to be the postmaster of Petaluma.

A Register of Officers and Agents, Civil, Military, and Naval in the Service of the United States, 1853, United States, Department of State

With the new name spelling and my earlier clue about Kansas, I began searching for anyone with that name who had been buried in Kansas in the late 19 th century. The site led me to a Garret V. Keller who died in 1901 in a small rural Kansas town of outside of the city of Leavenworth. There was no description of his life, but there was a link to the gravesite of his father, George Horine Keller, which did include a memorial drawn from a Kansas history book.

Reading down the text I suddenly hit paydirt:

“In Platte County, Missouri, [George Horine Keller] engaged in farming and manufacturing till the year 1850, but catching the gold fever, he sold out, equipped a large train with merchandise and went to California during the spring of that year. Settling down in the Sonoma valley, he founded the town of Petaluma, now a prosperous city of some 10,000 people. He returned in 1852 to Weston [Missouri].”

I quickly discovered in Google books a copy of the source cited in the memorial—Transactions of the Kansas Historical Society Collection, Vol. 10, 1907-1908, edited by George W. Martin. The book featured a short biography of Geroge Horine Keller, noting that after founding Petaluma, he went on to help establish the town of Leavenworth, Kansas.

With that information, I also discovered online two other historical sources that provided more details on George Horine Keller’s life: William G. Cutler’s History of the State of Kansas, published in 1883, and The History of Leavenworth County, Kansas, written by Jesse A. Hall and Leroy T. Hand, published in 1921.

From a search of old newspaper clippings at, I discovered that George Keller and his wife Nancy had one daughter and five sons. On the wagon train that took him to California in 1850, Keller had taken along with him with his oldest son, Garret Valentine Keller (named for his two Dutch grandfathers), as well as his new son-in-law Andrew Thomas Kyle, both of whom were 19 years old.

After being disappointed in the gold fields, the Keller party headed to Sonoma County, where, after Keller made his land claim and laid out the new town of Petaluma, his son Garret, then 21 years old, was appointed town’s first postmaster.

While sources indicate that George Keller and his son-in-law Andrew Kyle left Petaluma to return to Missouri in the fall of 1852, Garret Keller stayed behind in California for the next seven years, although it’s unknown exactly where. Postal records indicate he had vacated his position as Petaluma’s postmaster by December, 1852. A brief biography of Garret Keller in Cutler’s History of the State of Kansas notes that in 1854 he married a woman in California named Jane E. Hoagland, who was a native of Fort Leavenworth in Kansas Territory. They moved to Kansas in 1859, where Garret purchased a farm in Springdale outside of Leavenworth. He apparently lived an otherwise quiet life.

As for George H. Keller, after returning in 1852 to Weston, Missouri, he became a prominent figure along with his son-in-law Kyle in establishing Leavenworth, the first town in the new Kansas Territory, under another illegal land scheme.

Fifth Street in Leavenworth by Alexander Gardner, 1867 (photo courtesy of Legends of America)

But there was another side to Keller, one in which he distinguished himself at the risk of his own life as an abolitionist leader who was elected to the first Kansas Territorial Legislature during the violent conflicts over establishing Kansas as a slave state or free state. Upon the outbreak of the Civil War, he enlisted in the Kansas Frontier Guard at the age of 60, and was immediately dispatched to Washington, D.C., to guard President Lincoln at the White House. After the war was appointed the first warden of the Kansas State Penitentiary by the state’s governor.

When he died in 1876, after retiring to a farm near the farm of his son Garret, Keller was highly lauded in newspapers throughout the state of Kansas.

George H. Keller gravesite, Leavenworth County, Kansas

Which leaves us with a much more complicated picture than we had for the previous 170 years with the blank slate known as “Garrett W. Keller.” The story of Petaluma’s true founder acknowledges what history does best, which the sociologist W.E.B DuBois noted was expose “the hideous mistakes, the frightful wrongs, and the great and beautiful things that people do.”

A version of this story appeared in the Petaluma Argus-Courier

Lawrence Tribune: “Settler’s Defense,” July 1, 1868.

Leavenworth Times: “Kyle’s Reminiscence of Early Border Life,” January 11, 1902.

Petaluma Argus-Courier: “Ed Mannion’s Rear View Mirror,” April 2, 1960.

Petaluma Courier: “Death of Major Singley,” March 2, 1898.

Sacramento Daily Union: “Post Offices in California,” November 15, 1852.

Samuel Cassiday, Pen Pictures From the Garden of the World, An Illustrated History of Sonoma County (The Lewis Publishing Co., Chicago, 1889), pp. 109-114.

William Connelley, editor, A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, Volume 14 (Chicago: Lewis, 1918), pp. 1209-1210 Frank M. Gable, “The Kansas Penitentiary,” p. 379.

Thomas Jefferson Gregory, History of Sonoma County, California, With Biographical Sketches of Leading Men and Women (Historical Record Company, Los Angeles, 1911), p. 177.

Adair Heig, History of Petaluma: A California River Town (Petaluma, CA: Scottwall Associates, 1982), p. 29.

Jesse A. Hall and Leroy T. Hand, History of Leavenworth County, Kansas (Topeka, Kansas: Historical Publishing Company,1921), pp. 116-123.

LeBaron, Blackman, Mitchell, Hansen, Santa Rosa: A Nineteenth Century Town (Historia, Ltd., 1985), pgs. 16, 26-27.

George W. Martin, editor, Transactions of the Kansas Historical Society Collection, Vol. 10, 1907-1908 (Kansas Historical Society).

Henry Miles Moore, “Sketches of the Early Settlement of the City and County of Leavenworth,” Western Life (Leavenworth, KS), August 3, 1900.

Henry Miles Moore, Early History of Leavenworth, City and County (Samuel Dodsworth Book Co., Leavenworth, KS, 1906), pgs. 21, 24, 56, 86, 103, 123-127, 147, 161, 171.

J.P. Munro-Fraser, History of Sonoma County (San Francisco: Alley, Bowen & Co., 1880), p. 131, pp. 259-262.

Robert Allan Thompson, Historical and Descriptive Sketch of Sonoma County, California (Philadelphia: L.H. Everts & Co., 1877), pp. 53-54.

“Territorial Legislature of 1857-58: George Horine Keller,” Kansas Historical Society Collection, Vol. 10, 1907-1908, edited by George W. Martin, p. 211.

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