- What Products Does Amazon Brand As Pesticides?
- Why Is Amazon Marking Some Items as Pesticides?
- How Amazon Identifies Pesticides
- How to List Pesticides on Amazon – Understanding the Requirements
- What Happens When Vendors Don’t Sell Pesticides But Still Get Suspended?
- What to Do to Avoid Your Product Being Flagged as a Pesticide
- Other Actions that Can Trigger a Pesticide Suspension
- What To Do If One Of Your Listings Has Been Flagged or Suspended?
- Summary: Do’s and Don’ts
- Final Thoughts
- Frequently Asked Questions
Over the past few years, Amazon has been stricter about the rules on how users offer pesticides and related devices, hoping to protect customers and provide an optimal shopping experience.
Starting in 2020, anyone selling pesticides on Amazon must fill in the Pesticide Marking attribute upon listing creation. These requirements are based on regulations set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or what it considers a “pesticide.”
Therefore, some of the evidence you’ll be required to provide may include the EPA Registration number, EPA Establishment number, and certificate of exemption from EPA regulations.
If you provide the required EPA information when completing the attributes, you’ll rarely experience disruption to your Amazon offerings. However, those who fail to submit those details on the Pesticide Marking attribute could have their products removed.
Unfortunately, many people are unaware that their products can be considered pesticides or pesticide devices according to EPA criteria. Actually, it’s hard to identify what falls into this category.
As a result, many vendors get their product listings rejected after Amazon reviews them. Although this issue started in 2018 and was rare, it’s now common.
Did you encounter this problem? Do you want to know how you should handle and prevent pesticide suspensions? Or perhaps you’re looking to sell pesticides but you’re unable to list them? Here’s everything you need to know!
What Products Does Amazon Brand As Pesticides?
Based on Amazon’s information about pesticide listings, all products or devices that make pesticide claims are considered pesticides.
This category includes all products marketed as disinfectants, allergen removers, and insect repellents. Those that reportedly prevent bacteria are also classified as pesticides.
The EPA also states that all products or devices that make an antifungal, antimicrobial, antibacterial, and any other pesticide claim are pesticides and must be labeled as such.
Why Is Amazon Marking Some Items as Pesticides?
Amazon started using a scanning system to identify pesticides after facing some issues with illegally imported legal toxins. It even had to settle a dispute with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for around $1.2 million in fines.
The retailer and the regulator reached an agreement that included pesticide vendors’ mandatory training and a restriction on these products’ sales.
Amazon reportedly committed over 4,000 violations of US laws regarding illegal sales of harmful pesticides and exposure to such substances or devices.
As this issue escalated, the company had to take more aggressive steps to improve how it tracked these products and stop the sale of illegal pesticides.
How Amazon Identifies Pesticides
As you can see, EPA regulations are strict. However, pesticide suspensions have increased significantly due to many other factors. Amazon’s use of bots is one of them.
During the first days of each month, Amazon scans new listings on its platform using bots.
These bots scan the system’s new listings by looking for “trigger words” that could indicate whether a product should be banned. When sellers are unaware of these terms and use them, this process may affect their offerings.
However, although it’s run by the world’s largest online retailer, this system is not perfect. Therefore, errors can occur, meaning that many trigger words can sound the alarm and get flagged, but other products might slip past these bots.
Since bots can’t make judgment calls and don’t care if the product they’re scanning is actually a pesticide, items with these terms can be suddenly banned without further investigation.
Also, while Amazon’s regular monthly reviews didn’t include these scans in 2018-2019, the company’s internal teams now try to identify pesticides and increasingly rely on this bots system. Consequently, suspension rates have increased.
Many users have been affected by these bots’ errors and getting their new listings suspended, which can be shocking and frustrating.
Fortunately, there may be a helpful solution. If you follow certain recommendations, you can reduce the risk of getting your products flagged as pesticides.
How to List Pesticides on Amazon – Understanding the Requirements
First and foremost, ONLY USA entities are able to sell pesticides in the US Amazon marketplace.
That means if you’re a foreign entity registered to sell on Amazon US — you won’t be able to sell pesticides.
Fortunately, we can help people who’re unable but want to list pesticides. You can simply buy an Amazon seller account from us. And you’ll get a fully approved Amazon account registered under a USA entity that’s able to list and sell pesticides.
But now, let’s continue with other requirements.
As mentioned, Amazon has implemented a more aggressive policy to control pesticide sales. Therefore, all sellers offering items that make pesticide, antimicrobial, antifungal, antiviral, or antibacterial claims must comply with EPA regulations.
In order to check if a product meets EPA standards, Amazon asks pesticide sellers to fill in the Pesticide Marking attribute as soon as they create a listing.
During this step, sellers must provide different documents, including an EPA Registration number and/or Establishment number. Those who don’t meet these requirements may also show a certification that the listed item is exempt from these EPA rules.
In addition, US-based pesticide vendors must also comply with the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). It’s the federal statute regulating pesticide use, distribution, and sale.
The FIFRA states that all pesticides distributed or sold within the country must be registered and licensed by EPA. Therefore, those who list these products on Amazon must mandatorily comply with the previous step.
Additionally, since FIFRA is part of the federal government’s regulations on pesticide sales, it also determines how vendors must register, label, and distribute these products. Those who don’t pass the pesticide test based on these standards shouldn’t sell them at all.
Many believe the term “pesticide” refers to liquid substances or products formulated to repel insects. However, its definition is much broader.
Amazon Seller Central says that conventional pesticides can be both insecticides and repellents. However, this category can also include some less common items, such as the following:
- Ultraviolet lights
- Water treatment products
- Antimicrobial items
- Animal traps
- Hand sanitizer
- Dehumidifier to combat mold
- Mildew-resistant shower curtain
Disinfectants and hand sanitizers can be flagged as pesticides if vendors market them incorrectly or use inappropriate channels. The same is true for mildew-resistant shower curtains and anti-mold dehumidifiers. That’s why all sellers should carefully review Amazon’s policies.
In summary, these are the requirements that sellers offering pesticides or other pesticide products may have to comply with when making their listings:
- EPA registration number
- EPA establishment number
- Certification of exemption to EPA regulations (if applicable)
- FIFRA registration
- FIFRA registration exemption
- FIFRA document stating it isn’t considered pesticide (if applicable)
- Pesticide Marking Certification Number (numeric value)
What Happens When Vendors Don’t Sell Pesticides But Still Get Suspended?
Amazon’s bot system is not perfect and makes many mistakes trying to identify pesticides. As explained above, they can detect a trigger word and suspend a listing without investigating if it’s really a pesticide.
Consequently, any product listed on the platform may be affected by this policy if it contains any of these trigger terms.
Vendors in any category – including apparel, baby products, and more – can get their listings suspended by only using these trigger words and marketing their products the wrong way. Some items have even been flagged because their descriptions include terms like “antibacterial” or “anti-moisture.”
However, it is possible to get these suspensions lifted by just removing these trigger words or replacing the affected listings with updated content. Find more details below!
What to Do to Avoid Your Product Being Flagged as a Pesticide
While Amazon’s Pesticides and Pesticide Devices policy are confusing and sometimes frustrating, you can prevent your products from being flagged as pesticides.
Since using trigger words is one of the main reasons for pesticide suspension, if you don’t want your listing to be affected, you should avoid or remove these problematic terms.
Words You Should Avoid
This list isn’t exhaustive but includes terms that often trigger pesticide alerts.
- Microbial or microbe
- Bacteria or bacterial
- Fungus or fungal
- Kill viruses
- Specific insect names, including mosquito, wasp, tick, grasshopper, fly, roach, bee, and beetle
Unfortunately, bots can be so inaccurate that they will suspect your product is a pesticide and may suspend your listings if you use any of those words, even if the description or context in which you use the term is not related to pesticides at all.
Even if the word is necessary to describe the product, you could put your listings at risk and get them banned if you use them.
Other Actions that Can Trigger a Pesticide Suspension
Besides using trigger words, there are other actions that can cause Amazon to mislabel a product as “pesticide.” These include the following:
- Claim that a product “sanitizes” or “disinfects”
- Picture a “pest” on the product’s label
- Imply an action against pests, even if it is indirect
- Claim that a product repels, prevents, kills, or destroys
- Make a comparison of a product against pesticides
What To Do If One Of Your Listings Has Been Flagged or Suspended?
Did Amazon flag and suspend one of your listings for a pesticide claim? If so, you’ll get an email notification.
As mentioned, this is a big issue that can affect all sellers and may persist for a long time, as the platform is committed to complying with state and federal laws.
However, if your product listing has been flagged as a pesticide and suspended accordingly, you can take some corrective actions. If necessary, contacting the Amazon team to resolve the pesticide claim may also help.
Also, you should update your product listings to make sure they don’t contain trigger words or terms that could cause bots to label your items as pesticides.
As you can see, the list of trigger terms that you shouldn’t include is huge. Additionally, there are many products and devices that can be flagged as pesticides or different items depending on what they are or contain. It’s important to classify them to find a possible solution to those suspension problems.
Based on the most common pesticide claims, these are the two groups of products that are most often affected by pesticide claims:
1. Products That Repel, Destroy, Mitigate, or Prevent Pests
This category may include common substances or less conventional pesticides, such as air or water treatment devices, insect traps, ultraviolet light units, and sound generators.
If you want to sell one of these products on Amazon’s marketplace, you must make sure it’s properly labeled and has a Valid EPA Registration or Establishment number.
There are some exemptions to this requirement. Products treated as pesticides that have been properly registered and don’t make pest or public health claims don’t fall into this category.
Other exemptions include products made from active or inert ingredients that already meet other labeling rules and human or animal drugs that have received FDA approval.
Currently, Amazon only allows US residents to sell pesticide products on its platform. All must be approved and complete a training certification course before making their listings.
After passing the test, which you only have to do once, sellers can list and market pesticides without being flagged or suspended.
What To Do If You Sell These Products?
If you sell pesticides, you must apply for approval to qualify for that specific item you want to sell. These are the steps you must follow:
- Go to the Seller Central Page and open the Inventory section
- Click on Add a Product and search for the ASIN you plan to sell
- In the search results, click Listing Limitations Apply
- Then, click on Request Approval
- Complete the training test after being redirected to the Seller University section (you must score at least 80% to qualify)
- Click on “continue” on the Results Page if you pass
- Click on Exit the Course
- Check the application workflow and click the box, agreeing to Amazon’s Guaranty
- Add EPA information after completing the training
How Can You Add EPA Information?
After completing the training, you must add the required EPA information. All the steps are detailed in the Amazon Help Page entitled Compliance ID Attribute – Pesticide Marking.
However, you can find a short summary here:
- Click on “Edit” on the listing that you want to mark as a pesticide
- Once in Advanced View, open the Compliance tab
- Navigate to Pesticide Marking
- Choose your EPA Registration number and EPA Establishment number from the dropdown menu
- In the Pesticide Registration Status menu, select the option that applies to your case
- Enter your EPA Registration number (it’s the unique identifier that appears on the product’s label) in the Certification Number field
- Save and finish
If your product isn’t a pesticide or qualifies for an exemption and you select this option, you can leave that box blank.
2. Products Making Anti-mold, Antimicrobial, Antibacterial, Antifungal, or Pesticide Claims
This category is broader and includes products that may contain any type of pesticide. Homemade antifungal cream, clothing with antibacterial properties, and natural remedies to repel or kill insects are good examples.
While they aren’t pesticides per se, these products are often flagged as such if their descriptions have any of the trigger words. In this case, they’re “antifungal,” “antibacterial,” and “antimicrobial.”
Overall, Amazon can flag products like pesticides if they have those trigger terms in their written descriptions, titles, A+ content, bullet points, images, or any other element in the listing information.
If your product listing has been suspended for using trigger words, it could be automatically reinstated if you remove the terms from the items’ details.
In the meantime, you can view the listing on the Manage Inventory page. It’ll show up as “Detail Page Removed.”
Remove Triggering Content
Do you want to remove bot-triggering words from your product’s description? You just have to edit your listing page. It often solves the issue and lifts the suspension, causing your items to be relisted.
However, sometimes, Amazon bans sellers’ access to suspended listings. If this happens, the only way to adjust the content is by downloading the inventory file to the category it belongs to.
After that, you can update the template with new content, remove all triggering terms, and re-upload it to the Inventory page. You only have to click “Add Products via Upload” to complete this step.
With this method, you could have your product listing restored in just 15 minutes.
If the above alternatives didn’t work, you can try other methods to reinstate your listing. Updating the Pesticide Marking on your product’s backend is one of them. However, it requires more time and case management.
Also, if Amazon doesn’t update the product and your listing is still suspended, you can open a case with the Amazon Support Team. Remember that you must show screenshots of the problematic’ listing backend to prove that you selected the right options.
You can also open a case with Amazon Seller Support if the above methods don’t work or you’re still having issues with your product listings. However, if you don’t get a response within 24 hours, you may need to delete and relist your item.
Summary: Do’s and Don’ts
Here are the proactive measures you should take to prevent Amazon from flagging your listings as pesticides:
- Thoroughly review and understand FIFRA’s labeling requirements
- Know the Amazon bot-triggering words
- Take the Pesticide Training Course if you sell these products
- Mark your product as “Not a Pesticide” in Seller Central’s backend if you don’t sell these products
- Use trigger words in your descriptions, images, or another element in your listing’s information
- Claim that your products can prevent, combat, kill, repel, or destroy something
- Compare your products with pesticides
- Picture pests on your products’ labels
- Claim that your product can disinfect or sanitize
As you can see, preventing your product from being flagged as a pesticide by Amazon’s bots is not that difficult. Also, it’s much easier than trying to reinstate a listing that has been suspended.
Small wording errors in your descriptions can make you waste time and money. Therefore, if you want to prevent your products’ sales from being affected by Amazon’s strict pesticide policy, leverage the tips listed here!
However, if you’ve been suspended and can no longer sell or you want to list pesticides but your account is unable to do so — contact us and we’ll help you get started.