Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Compliance and Defense - Federal Lawyer
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Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Compliance and Defense

Our Lawyers and Consultants Help Companies Comply with FIFRA and Defend Against EPA Enforcement Actions When Necessary

Carlton S. Patton
Carlton S. Patton
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act Team Lead
Former EPA CID Special Agent
Nick Oberheiden
Attorney Nick Oberheiden
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act Team Lead
envelope icon Contact Nick

The Federal Insecticide Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) regulates the distribution, sale, and use of pesticides in the United States. Pesticides are one of the relatively few types of products that are subject to EPA registration, and FIFRA gives the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) oversight of all pesticide-related commercial operations and pesticide products in the United States—from importation and manufacturing through application. This means that a wide range of companies need to comply with FIFRA—and they need to be prepared to demonstrate their compliance to the EPA when necessary.

The lawyers and consultants on our EPA team provide comprehensive FIFRA compliance services to companies across the United States. We also represent companies during EPA inspections, investigations, and enforcement proceedings under FIFRA. Like many other federal environmental statutes, FIFRA includes provisions for both civil and criminal enforcement, making it vital that companies give due consideration to their compliance obligations. At Oberheiden P.C., we assist our clients with FIFRA-related matters including (but not limited to):

  • FIFRA compliance program development, implementation, and monitoring
  • Pesticide registration under FIFRA
  • EPA inspections and compliance monitoring
  • EPA investigations under FIFRA
  • Civil and criminal enforcement proceedings under FIFRA

FIFRA Compliance Management

For companies that are subject to FIFRA, implementing a comprehensive and custom-tailored compliance program is essential for effectively managing compliance and mitigating their EPA-related risk. With our lawyers and consultants’ in-depth knowledge of FIFRA and the pertinent EPA regulations, we develop FIFRA compliance programs that are not only comprehensive and custom-tailored, but that are also designed specifically to facilitate efficient implementation. We assist our clients with monitoring and internal enforcement as well, ensuring that they (and their personnel) are taking all of the steps necessary to avoid violations that could expose them to substantial penalties.

EPA Pesticide Registration Under FIFRA

There have been a few amendments to FIFRA. One of those amendments is the Pesticide Registration Improvement Act. Now, under FIFRA, all pesticides sold in the United States are subject to registration with the EPA. Crucially, however, registration is not simply a matter of filing an application with the agency. Instead, as the EPA explains, companies seeking to register new pesticides, “must show, among other things, that using the pesticide according to specifications ‘will not generally cause unreasonable adverse effects on the environment.'”

This requires both scientific testing and clear documentation of a pesticide’s lack of harmful effects. To affirmatively demonstrate that a pesticide “will not generally cause unreasonable adverse effects on the environment,” a company seeking approval from the EPA must be able to prove that the pesticide both:

  • Does not present “any unreasonable risk to man or the environment, taking into account the economic, social, and environmental costs and benefits of the use of any pesticide;” and,
  • Does not present a “human dietary risk from residues that result from a use of a pesticide in or on any food inconsistent with the standard under section 408 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.”

Securing EPA approval of a pesticide under FIFRA can be a time and resource-intensive process, and any delays or setbacks in the registration process can lead to loss of commercial opportunities—further exacerbating the costs of failing to effectively demonstrate compliance. At Oberheiden P.C., we understand the importance of bringing newly developed products to market as quickly as possible. We keep this in at all stages of our representation, from helping our clients ensure that they are prepared to apply for registration under FIFRA to communicating with the EPA on their behalf during the registration application process.

Put our highly experienced team on your side

Dr. Nick Oberheiden
Dr. Nick Oberheiden



Lynette S. Byrd
Lynette S. Byrd

Former DOJ Trial Attorney


Brian J. Kuester
Brian J. Kuester

Former U.S. Attorney

Amanda Marshall
Amanda Marshall

Former U.S. Attorney

Local Counsel

Joe Brown
Joe Brown

Former U.S. Attorney

Local Counsel

John W. Sellers
John W. Sellers

Former Senior DOJ Trial Attorney

Linda Julin McNamara
Linda Julin McNamara

Federal Appeals Attorney

Aaron L. Wiley
Aaron L. Wiley

Former DOJ attorney

Local Counsel

Roger Bach
Roger Bach

Former Special Agent (DOJ)

Chris Quick
Chris J. Quick

Former Special Agent (FBI & IRS-CI)

Michael S. Koslow
Michael S. Koslow

Former Supervisory Special Agent (DOD-OIG)

Ray Yuen
Ray Yuen

Former Supervisory Special Agent (FBI)

EPA Inspections and Compliance Monitoring Under FIFRA

Companies involved in all segments of the chain of distribution of pesticides in the United States are subject to facility and record inspections by the EPA. The EPA’s Compliance Monitoring Strategy under FIFRA outlines the procedures for seven specific types of inspections, all of which present significant risks for companies that are not thoroughly prepared. At Oberheiden P.C. we help companies thoroughly prepare for EPA inspections under FIFRA including:

  • Producer Establishment Inspections
  • Import Inspections
  • Use Inspections
  • Certified Applicator Inspections
  • Restricted-Use Pesticide Dealer Inspections
  • Marketplace Inspections
  • Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) Inspections

In addition to helping ensure that our clients are prepared to withstand scrutiny from the EPA under FIFRA, we also engage with the EPA on behalf of our clients during the inspection process. This way, we can help ensure that the inspection process goes smoothly, that EPA agents do not access any facilities or records that are not subject to inspection, and that we are able to proactively address any concerns as efficiently as possible.

Along with conducting inspections, the EPA engages in various other means of compliance monitoring under FIFRA as well. Here, too, we work closely with our clients to ensure that they are prepared for any scrutiny they may face from the EPA related to their importation, manufacture, distribution, storage, or use of regulated pesticides. By providing our clients with the resources and guidance they need to efficiently manage FIFRA compliance on an ongoing basis, we put our clients in the position of being ready for any announced or unannounced scrutiny—and in the position of being able to conduct their pesticide-related commercial operations with confidence.

Potential Risks in EPA Inspections and Investigations Under FIFRA

Inspections and investigations under FIFRA can expose companies (and individuals) to substantial risks. When facing scrutiny, avoiding these risks (or mitigating them, if necessary) requires an informed and strategic defense. At Oberheiden P.C., the lawyers and consultants on our EPA team rely on extensive experience to defend clients that are facing allegations of:

  • Distribution or sale of unregistered pesticides
  • Distribution or sale of a pesticide with a composition that differs from that submitted during the registration application process
  • Misbranding and adulteration of registered pesticides
  • Other violations of FIFRA involving registered or unregistered pesticides
  • Inability to affirmatively demonstrate FIFRA compliance

These issues (among others) have the potential to lead to civil or criminal enforcement under FIFRA. Along with imposing substantial civil monetary penalties (CMP), in civil enforcement cases the EPA also has the authority to seize or prevent the sale of violative pesticides. In criminal enforcement cases, the EPA works alongside the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to pursue charges that carry both fines and prison time for company owners, executives, and other personnel who are implicated in the alleged violations at issue.

When facing EPA scrutiny under FIFRA, the importance of responding immediately to the EPA’s inspection or investigation cannot be overstated. While companies (and individuals) may have a variety of statutory defenses available, asserting these defenses effectively and efficiently requires a proactive approach that takes into account both the relevant facts and the relevant law. As a result, engaging defense counsel promptly is critical; and, when choosing defense counsel, it is essential to choose a law firm that has specific—and extensive—experience representing clients in high-stakes EPA enforcement matters.

FAQs: Effectively Managing Companies’ Risk Under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA)

When is Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Compliance Required?

Compliance with FIFRA is required for any company involved in the importation, manufacture, sale, distribution, or application of pesticides in the United States. The pesticide industry is heavily regulated in the U.S., and the EPA actively enforces companies’ FIFRA compliance obligations.

What is FIFRA Registration (and When Is It Required)?

FIFRA registration is required for any pesticide intended for sale in the United States. Registering a pesticide under FIFRA involves filing an application with the EPA. Among other things, a pesticide registration applicant must affirmatively demonstrate that the pesticide “will not generally cause unreasonable adverse effects on the environment.”

How Does the EPA Enforce FIFRA?

The EPA enforces FIFRA through a variety of means. Along with requiring pesticide registration (and denying registration for non-compliant applications), the EPA also conducts inspections and other surveillance activities to assess compliance at all stages of the pesticide product lifecycle. When the EPA has reason to suspect noncompliance, it conducts targeted investigations as well—and these investigations can present risks for both civil and criminal penalties.

What Are the Penalties for Violating the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act?

The penalties for violating the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act depend on the specific violation and whether the EPA decides to pursue civil or criminal enforcement. Generally, civil penalties can include fines, seizures, and injunctions prohibiting the sale or use of pesticides. Criminal penalties can include fines and imprisonment for the individuals involved.

How Can Companies Avoid Violating the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act?

Companies can avoid violating the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act by taking a proactive approach to pesticide compliance management. At Oberheiden P.C., we rely on extensive experience—including prior experience at the EPA—to help our clients implement and maintain effective FIFRA compliance programs.

Contact the EPA Team at Oberheiden P.C. for More Information

If you would like to know more about our FIFRA compliance or defense services, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with a member of the EPA team at Oberheiden P.C. To arrange a complimentary initial consultation, call 888-680-1745 or get in touch online today.

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