Trade group pushes to enact pesticide labelling legislation, seeks public action

CropLife America, a national trade association that represents the manufacturers and distributors of pesticides, is urging lawmakers to support legislation the association says protects farmers’ access to EPA-approved pesticides.

The bipartisan Agriculture Labeling Uniformity Act (H.R. 4288), cosponsored by Reps. Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) and Jim Costa (D-Calif.), was introduced “to help ensure pesticide product labels are “uniform, backed by sound science, and approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.” Under current law, the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act governs pesticide use, sales and labeling. FIFRA gives the Environmental Protection Agency exclusive authority to determine labeling and packaging requirements. Under FIFRA, states can regulate the sale or use of pesticides but are prohibited from imposing their own labeling requirements that differ from the EPA’s science-based labels.

Despite EPA’s explicit authority, some states are adding labeling requirements outside of the EPA-approved label, according to the bill’s sponsors. “These requirements jeopardize the availability of current and future pesticides as companies could have to comply with a patchwork of state labeling requirements,” the congressmen said when introducing the legislation. The Agricultural Labeling Uniformity Act reaffirms FIFRA’s standard that the EPA is the single authority on pesticide labeling and packaging requirements.

According to CropLife America, special interest groups have been “spreading misinformation” about the legislation, with the goal of stopping all pesticide production and use. H.R. 4288 does not insulate pesticide manufacturers from current or future litigation, nor does it limit states’ ability to enact use-case restrictions, as some critics have said. It does prevent states from instituting backdoor bans on pesticides through onerous labeling requirements that contradict EPA’s rigorous scientific reviews of their safety. CropLife America is asking stakeholders to contact their members of Congress in support of the Agricultural Labeling Uniformity Act.

The group also has provided a social media toolkit to help interested organizations with their outreach in support of H.R. 4288.