Pesticide use for both conventional and organic crops in California is regulated by a federal, state and local government partnership charged with protecting public health and the environment while controlling pests that threaten food production. The federal government registers pesticides following a rigorous scientific evaluation, and authorizes state regulation of the sale and use of pesticides as long as state regulations are at least as restrictive as federal standards.
The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) has the primary enforcement responsibility to regulate federally registered pesticides in the state. CDPR also has a secondary registration process that often adds regulations more protective of health and the environment to the product label.
County Agricultural Commissioners are responsible for enforcing state and federal laws related to pesticide use. They issue permits for fumigants, gaseous pesticides injected into the ground before a crop is planted to kill pests that would otherwise destroy the harvest, and other restricted use materials. Commissioners have authority, with limitations, to impose tougher restrictions tailored to local conditions. The additional rules cannot be so restrictive that they prohibit effective pest control.