BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (AP) — A Central California fertilizer producer has been ordered to serve 6 ½ years in prison after selling product with synthetic ingredients that he claimed were entirely organic.
A federal judge sentenced Kenneth Noel Nelson Jr. Monday in U.S. District Court in Fresno after he pleaded guilty earlier to four counts of mail fraud in the case.
The 59-year-old Bakersfield resident ran Port Organic Products Ltd., one of the largest organic fertilizer operations in the western U.S.
Prosecutors said that between 2003 and 2009 Nelson misrepresented fertilizer as organic when it in fact contained ingredients that disqualified it from that certification.
Officials found thousands of gallons of aqueous ammonia, an ingredient in synthetic fertilizers, at his factory.
The Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 establishes criteria for organic products.
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