A trial that marks the epilogue of the so-called metam-sodium affair. Almost five years after the events, the agricultural company Primaloire and one of its employees are on trial from this Monday before the Angers criminal court. They are summoned to appear for involuntary injuries by violation of an obligation of safety or prudence.
At the heart of this trial: the use of a pesticide, called metam-sodium, widely used in market gardening, especially in that of lamb's lettuce. The Primaloire employee allegedly used it inappropriately, causing intense head pain and breathing difficulties to the students of a nearby high school, then to around sixty farm workers. Some had to be taken to the emergency room of the CHU d'Angers.
A series of complaints had been filed, some of which were initiated by local environmental defense associations. Beyond the criminal aspect of this affair, the prefecture of Maine-et-Loire immediately suspended the right to use metam-sodium. A month later, the National Health Security Agency (Anses) definitively banned the sale of all products containing metam-sodium.
The decision of the health authorities had been difficult to accept at the time by the federation of Nantes market gardeners, leader in the production of lamb's lettuce in France.