EPA Takes Enforcement Action Against Companies for Misbranded Pesticide
On September 21, 2022, EPA announced settlements with two New Jersey companies for the sale and distribution of the pesticide Zoono Microbe Shield. The companies made false and misleading claims stating that the registered pesticide was suitable for use as a disinfectant or sanitizer against the virus which causes COVID-19. The companies’ claims were a violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (“FIFRA”) which prohibits false and misleading claims of registered pesticide products.
The two companies, Zoono USA and Zoono Holdings, advertised and sold the Zoono Micro Shield product on their own company websites as well as on Amazon. The product’s labeling contained public health claims that EPA stated differ substantially from statements submitted to the Agency in connection with its pesticide registration; in other words, the companies were committing misbranding under FIFRA, The product’s registration allows only for labeling claims related to effectiveness against odor-causing bacteria, bacteria that cause staining and discoloration, fungi, and algae. The product is not registered for use as a disinfectant or sanitizer, nor is it registered for any public health purpose. Therefore, it was a violation of the statute to make such claims. The settlements included civil penalties in the amounts of $205,000 and $120,000.