(March 27) A FLORIDA JUDGE has recommended that 71 of 78 alleged pesticide violations against Plant City, Fla.-based Ag-Mart Inc. be dismissed. Ag-Mart said in a news release that the seven remaining violations stemmed from recordkeeping violations at its north Florida farming operation.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services alleged in 2005 that Ag-Mart broke rules regarding pre-harvest chemical application and pesticide entry interval rules.

Ag-Mart attorney David Stefany said the company, which markets under the Santa Sweets brand, and the agriculture department have until March 30 to file exceptions to the recommendations.

A North Carolina judge recommended the dismissal of 271 alleged pesticide violations in December. Ag-Mart said that of the 359 alleged violations adjudicated in Florida and North Carolina 345 have been recommended for dismissal.

Stefany said 98 more alleged violations were scheduled to be reviewed by a North Carolina judge in May.