Chapter 9 – FIFRA: From Misbranding to Reasonable Certainty of No Harm


Until 1996, the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) offers a classic example of a risk-balancing statute that only regulated unreasonable risks. In 1996, this changed when the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) shifted the burden of proof to manufacturers to show with reasonable certainty that the residues left on food will result in no harm. FIFRA is triggered when products make pesticidal claims, and the statute defines the term pesticide broadly. Pesticide manufacturers must obtain a registration and provide a label containing claims, cautions, and instructions for use. Restricted use pesticides may only be applied by specially trained applicators. EPA can grant conditional registrations and allow a registrant to begin selling a pesticide while continuing to fill data gaps. EPA may seek registration suspension when the pesticide represents an imminent hazard.