Dole Food Company has announced that it has reached a settlement for the termination of38 lawsuits against the company that had been pending in the US and Nicaragua, completing anagreement that had been reached late last year.

The cases, including two Nicaragua judgments totaling US$907.5m, had beenbrought by the ProvostUmphrey Law Firm on behalf of foreign plaintiffsclaiming injuries from alleged exposure more than 30 years ago to theagricultural chemical Dibromochloropropane (DBCP).

The chemical was a pesticide sprayed on crops for over two decades before it was banned in 1977, amid reports of infertility among maleworkers exposed to it.

No details of the value of the completed agreement have been released, although the group confirmed that it will not have amaterial effect on Dole's financial condition, results of operations orcash flows.

'The termination of these 38 lawsuits takes Dole completely out of allProvostUmphrey DBCP litigation, including the two judgments pending inthe Nicaragua courts, and moves Dole closer to the eventual eliminationof all DBCP lawsuits,' said Michael Carter, Dole's executive vice-president, general counsel and corporate secretary. 'Though there is noreliable scientific basis for alleged injuries from the agriculturalfield application of DBCP, Dole has been willing to consider possibleagreements which recognise that there is no causal connection betweenDBCP and plaintiffs’ allegations.'