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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Animal & Veterinary

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How can I tell if a flea and tick product is legitimate?

If you’re a small animal veterinarian, you commonly prescribe flea and tick products for your patients. FDA approves some flea and tick products for animals while the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) licenses or registers others. You can identify the regulating agency by looking at the product’s label.

An FDA-approved flea and tick product will typically have the statement, “Approved by FDA,” followed by the six-digit New Animal Drug Application (NADA) or Abbreviated New Animal Drug Application (ANADA) number on the label. If you question the product’s approval status, you can follow the tips on how to tell if a drug is FDA-approved for animals.

An EPA-registered flea and tick product will have an EPA Registration Number (sometimes written as “EPA Reg. No.”) on the label. Another way to determine if a product is registered by EPA is through Purdue University's National Pesticide Information Retrieval System (NPIRS)disclaimer icon. This system provides user-friendly access to EPA's database of registered pesticides. You can search NPIRS using several parameters, including product name, company name, or EPA Registration Number.

More information about the EPA registration process and EPA-registered flea and tick products.
 

Helpful Acronyms to Know When Using the National Pesticide Information Retrieval System (NPIRS):

  • U.S. EPA – U.S Environmental Protection Agency
  • OPP - EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs
  • PPIS – Pesticide Product Information System, run by the Office of Pesticide Programs and containing information about all EPA-registered pesticides in the United States
  • PC code – Pesticide Chemical code, a unique numeric identifier assigned to a pesticide chemical name by EPA
  • CAS number – Chemical Abstracts Service number (also called a CAS registry number), an internationally-recognized, unique numeric identifier assigned to a chemical substance by Chemical Abstracts Servicedisclaimer icon, a division of the American Chemical Society
     

 

Unfortunately, counterfeit pet pesticides are a problem. Foreign-labeled flea and tick products are illegally imported into the United States and packaged to look like the legitimate EPA-registered “Advantage” and “Frontline” products.

More information about counterfeit pet pesticides and how to identify these illegal products.