The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, Pesticide Program (“MDAR”) is the regulatory authority who oversees the use of pesticides. Under M.G.L.c. 132B, Section 6A, No person shall use a registered pesticide in a manner that is inconsistent with its labeling or other restrictions imposed by the department”. Additionally, as required by the Federal Fungicide Insecticide Rodenticide Act (“FIFRA”), the statement “It is a violation of federal law to use this product in a manner inconsistent with its labeling”. In some circumstances a pesticide product may be used inconsistent with the label directions. With the the rise of invasive species and limits on products used to control them, MDAR has been asked about the criteria in which one can use a pesticide inconsistent with the label directions. This notice is intended to clarify when a pesticide product may be used off-label.
Section 2(ee) of FIFRA describes the circumstances in which a pesticide product may be used inconsistent with the label directions. MDAR follows Section 2(ee) of FIFRA when the following circumstances are met:
It should be noted that some pesticide labels are pest/rate specific, meaning that the label has a specific application/dilution rate for a specific pest. In this circumstance, Section 2(ee) would not apply. For example, if the label lists out specific diseases and rates associated with each disease and the disease that a person wants to treat for is not listed, then Section 2(ee) would not apply.
Additionally, it is important that the label be reviewed to ensure the product is intended for the industry that would like to use it. For example, if the product is labeled for agricultural uses, then it should not be used in the turf industry unless that use is on the label.
Some manufacturers develop additional supplemental labeling that are specifically designed to address Section 2(ee) and will list the new pest or rate. If that happens, then the supplemental labeling must accompany the product and is considered part of the label, and the directions must be followed.
If you have any questions regarding this notice or Section 2(ee) please email Taryn LaScola, Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources.
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