Ag-Mart settles with parents in insecticide lawsuit

Ag-Mart Produce, a Plant City-based tomato grower, has settled a lawsuit with a farm-working couple whose baby was born without limbs. The settlement terms were undisclosed.

Francisca Herrera and Abraham Candelario testified that they worked in Ag-Mart fields in Florida and North Carolina in 2004, when Francisca was pregnant with her son, Carlitos. Herrera and other employees testified that the company sprayed chemicals while they were working.

Ag-Mart President Donald Long testified that he knew the company used pesticides—including methyl bromide—that had caused birth defects in laboratory animals, but did not know whether Herrera had been directly exposed. “It doesn’t say on the label ‘Do not allow pregnant women to work in this,’ even though it has the warning that it might cause problems,” Long said.