Company Taking Action to Address and Resolve Turfseed Registrations in
Four European Union Countries
Liberty Lake, WA – May 8, 2020 – Jacklin Seed (“the Company”), a business unit of The J.R. Simplot Company (“Simplot”) and a leader in turfgrass production, today announced that it has discovered that a portion of seeds shipped to customers and distributors over the last several years were mislabeled. The mislabeled seeds were of similar varieties and comparable quality to the seeds that had been ordered. The mislabeling did not occur in any other business unit of Simplot, and the former employees who were responsible for directing the mislabeling have been terminated.
The Company took immediate action to address and remedy the mislabeling, including:
• Jacklin Seed launched a full investigation with the support of external legal counsel. The Company is fully cooperating with the relevant authorities to resolve the matter.
• Jacklin Seed has inspected its current inventory to make sure that all seeds are accurately labeled in accordance with state and federal regulations.
• Going forward, the Company’s seed specialists will recommend suitable alternatives for any grass seed ordered that it does not have in its inventory.
• Jacklin Seed will provide a fair and consistent compensation to distributors and customers that purchased mislabeled seeds from Jacklin by paying a refund on impacted prior orders.
• The Company strengthened its compliance and reporting policies and procedures, significantly enhanced its Global Ethics and Compliance Program, and rolled out a Code of Conduct for all employees.
In addition, while investigating the mislabeling matter, the Company discovered that the same former employees were also responsible for improperly registering certain turfseed products in four countries in the European Union: The Czech Republic, Italy, Poland and Spain. The Company will work with regulators in each country to address the improper registrations and has halted all sales of the improperly registered turfseed while it works to resolve the registrations. In the meantime, it is recommending appropriate substitutes for these products and is compensating its impacted customers and distributors. The inaccurate registrations did not occur in any other Simplot business unit.
James Alderman, Senior Vice-President, General Counsel and Secretary of Simplot, said: “We deeply value our customer and distributor relationships and the bottom line is that this conduct is unacceptable. This behavior does not reflect our company’s high standards and ethics, and we are remedying the situation.
“Our investigation determined that the mislabeled seeds were very similar, and in some cases better, than the seeds that were ordered in the U.S. Though we have not received complaints regarding the quality of the mislabeled seeds, we are proactively compensating our impacted customers and distributors. Going forward, our seed specialists will recommend suitable alternatives for any grass seed ordered that are not available in our inventory. We are also compensating our customers and distributors in Europe who purchased improperly registered seeds, and we are offering turfseed substitutes that are of comparable quality to the products that are not currently available as we take action to address and resolve the registrations. We have confidence in the integrity of our current Jacklin Seed managers and employees and know they will do their utmost to restore the trust of our customers.”
The Company will regularly review its policies and procedures, with the goal of continual enhancements, to ensure that its commitment to integrity and leadership accountability is firmly embedded in its organization, and that its governance and risk management mechanisms operate effectively across the business. Jacklin Seed will continue to provide high-quality, innovative turfgrass varieties to meet its customers’ every landscape need.
About Jacklin Seed
Jacklin® Seed is a leader in turfgrass production, offering a full product line of turfgrass varieties and expert turf consultation services. A division of The J.R. Simplot Company, Jacklin develops and produces fast-germinating, high-quality grass seeds using the latest seed science and turf agronomy. Jacklin has knowledgeable distributors around the world and expert agronomists on staff with experience in seeding everything from prominent golf courses and professional athletic fields to native wildlife areas. For more information on Jacklin Seed’s products and services, visit jacklinseed.com.