Pesticide compliance (FIFRA)

The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) is the federal statute governing U.S. pesticide regulation. In order for a pesticide product to be sold or distributed in the United States, it must be approved and registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), each individual state and U.S. territory. A registrant must demonstrate that a pesticide will not cause unreasonable harm to humans or the environment.

Types of pesticides

EPA separates pesticides into distinct categories and each category has specific data requirements that must be met when applying for federal registration and renewal:

  • Antimicrobials – These substances are used to control the growth of microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, or fungi.
  • Biopesticides – Containing microbial and biochemical active ingredients, these pesticides are inherently less toxic than conventional pesticides.
  • Conventional Pesticides – These chemicals are generally produced synthetically and used in many types of pest control from agricultural applications to structural premises treatments. They are used to mitigate all classes of pests with the exception of microorganisms including weeds, insects, fungi, and rodents.

Under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act), EPA also has the legal authority to establish tolerances (also known as Maximum Residue Levels - MRLs) for the amount of pesticide residue allowed to remain in food or animal feed as a result of crop application and other processes. Any pesticide residue in or on food is deemed unsafe unless it is within the range EPA has defined as safe or has been granted an exemption from the requirement for a tolerance.

State Regulations

Upon EPA approval, pesticides must be registered in each state and territory where they will be distributed or sold. Each state has its own laws regarding pesticide products and it is not uncommon for state and federal regulations to differ on certain points. Pesticide registration programs are unique to each of the 50 states, making it imperative to ensure coordination with different state mandates and department requirements.

California has the most extensive and complex pesticide regulation program in the United States under the authority of the California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal-EPA), which houses the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR). DPR enforces more rigorous standards for data and labeling compared to other states. New York and Florida have also adopted programs that go beyond the scope of federal requirements to ensure public and environmental health and safety.

TSG can help

  • Prepare and submit federal and state registration and renewals
  • Develop product labels
  • Prepare and submit inert petitions
  • Assess pesticide tolerances/MRLs
  • Place and monitor studies with contract research labs (CRO)
  • Prepare data waivers rationales 
  • Address reevaluation of pesticide products 
  • Conduct compliance audits
  • In-house training
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