New requirements for selling and distribution of FIFRA-regulated products through Amazon and other Online Retailers
What’s the issue?
E-commerce platforms have, since their emergence, opened the door to previously untapped business channels for manufacturers of all manner of goods. While registrants of products regulated under the U.S. Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) are often aware of their federal and state labelling, registration, and reporting responsibilities in these spaces, secondary sellers and distributors may be less experienced with the requirements for selling such pesticides and pesticidal devices.
For the purposes of FIFRA, a pesticide is defined as “any substance or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling, or mitigating any pest.” FIFRA broadly defines a “pest” to include “(1) any insect, rodent, nematode, fungus, weed, or (2) any other form of terrestrial or aquatic plant or animal life or virus, bacteria, or other micro-organism (except viruses, bacteria, or other micro-organisms on or in living man or other animals).”
Importantly, products that may qualify as pesticidal devices such as ultraviolet lights, air treatment units, water filters, and insect traps are often overlooked. Under FIFRA, a pesticidal “device” is any instrument or contrivance (other than a firearm) which is intended for trapping, destroying, repelling, or mitigating any pest.
Non-compliance with FIFRA requirements can result in significant fines to the online retailer as well as the seller. As more FIFRA-regulated products begin to be sold through online means, in addition to traditional distribution channels, online retailers are looking to minimize their liability while encouraging sellers to become educated on their federal and state labeling, registration, and reporting responsibilities. In the most notable move toward this emergent practice, Amazon recently notified sellers of its updated requirements to sell pesticides and pesticide devices through its online platform.
How are Registrants being affected?
In its updated policy and notice, Amazon informed its sellers that, by June 7th, 2019, sellers of products that qualify as pesticides or pesticidal devices will need to complete an online eLearning training and successfully pass a short exam based on that material. The course covers a wide range of topics including an overview of EPA regulations and definitions, various labelling requirements for pesticidal products, common exemptions, and guidance for E-Commerce sales. Sellers, electing not to complete Amazon’s eLearning course, risk removal of their existing offers and will be barred from creating new offers of pesticides and pesticidal devices.
It is uncertain how, or if, other online retailers will follow suit; however, registrants and distributors alike can take proactive measures to ensure that their products are sold legally and in a compliant manner.
How TSG can be of service to Sellers engaged in E-commerce
The professionals at TSG understand the many challenges that registrants and distributors must navigate throughout their product’s lifecycles. Our consultants can assist by providing education and training on regulatory requirements, by reviewing product marketing content and labels, and by offering regulatory exemption pathways, when they are available. TSG has expertise with the registration of pesticides at both the federal and state level, as well as with the maintenance of those registrations once obtained. To learn more about proactive measures that can be taken to lessen the impact of this new process, please feel free to contact us at your convenience.
Please get in touch via the form opposite if you have any questions.