Permits and Reporting for Pests

The following guidance clarifies Food and Agriculture Codes (FACs) involving:

  1. Permits required for transport of collected environmental samples
  2. Reporting requirements for pest detection
  3. Questions

Permits Required for Transport of Collected Environmental Samples (FAC§6305)

Any UC Davis faculty, unit lead, facility director, or course instructor who is responsible for an activity that involves the collection, transport, maintenance, or use any of the following pests must obtain a no-cost permit from the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA).

  • Phytophagous arthropods
  • Any insect (exemptions)
  • Plant pathogens
  • Noxious weeds
  • Plant-parasitic nematodes

Permits are Required For:

  1. Collection and movement of any of the aforementioned pests – including soils that harbor these pests - from anywhere within California, even if the materials are not transported across county lines (i.e., collected and transported within Yolo County).
  2. Maintenance of any of the aforementioned pests at any site separate from where it was originally collected (e.g., maintenance of a nematode colony on campus).
  3. Use of any of the aforementioned pests for challenge/infection studies.

Exemptions Are Allowed for Work Involving:

  1. Honey bees of the species Apis mellifera
  2. Weeds for the purpose of identification
  3. Beneficial or useful insects of common occurrence in the state
  4. Insects or other organisms of public health or animal health interest, which are not plant pests, when imported, shipped, or transported by any governmental public health agency

Timeline for Implementation
Starting in May 2023, the Biosafety Office will request active permits be provided for any Biological Use Authorization (BUA) which involves these materials/activities.

  • The Biosafety Office understands that the CDFA may be delayed in issuing permits and will accept documentation reflecting a timely permit application on your part.
  • If your work does not require a BUA, you are still required to comply and the Biosafety Office can support your efforts.  

CFDA Permit

Screengrab of CFDA permit - click image to download PDF


  • No cost to submit
  • Last 2 years (typically)
  • Subject to CDFA Audits


Download Permit Form (pdf)

Securing and Maintaining Your Permit
There is no fee to submit and the typical term for a permit is two years. There are regular inspection visits from CDFA to ensure compliance with permit conditions and you should notify the Biosafety Office when CDFA will conduct an inspection.

Permit applications must be submitted to the California Department of Food and Agriculture via email at or by mail addressed to:

California Department of Food and Agriculture
1220 N Street, Room 221
Sacramento, California 95814

PLEASE NOTE: even if the United States Department of Agriculture/Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA/APHIS) does not require a federal permit for either an insect or a plant pathogen, a state-issued permit may still be required. The movement of organisms and plant material from areas under interior quarantine regulations in California is prohibited except under a special permit from CDFA, specifically written for the quarantine pest.

Pest Detection Reporting Requirement (FAC§5307)

Since the University of California is supported by public funds, any new pest, or pests of limited distribution - detected in California as a result of investigation, research, survey, or inspection - must be immediately reported to the CDFA or a County Ag Commissioner.