Congressional subcommittee seeks recall of Seresto flea, tick collar


A Congressional subcommittee has asked Elanco to voluntarily recall its Seresto flea and tick collars, following a March 2 story by the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting and USA TODAY on thousands of incident reports about pet and human harm linked to the use of the collar.

Seresto, developed by Bayer and now sold by Elanco, is one of the top-selling flea and tick collars in the United States. The collar works by releasing small amounts of pesticide onto the animal for months at a time. The pesticide is supposed to kill fleas, ticks and other pests but be safe for cats and dogs.

On Thursday, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Illinois), chairman of the subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, sent letters to Elanco, asking the company to recall the product and issue full refunds to customers, and Bayer, asking the company to release information about the toxicity of the product.

Since the collar was sold beginning in 2012, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has received more than 75,000 incident reports about pet and human harm linked to use of the collar. These incident reports include at least 1,698 pet deaths and 907 humans harmed.

Rhonda Bomwell of Somerset holds a photograph as she talks about her 9-year-old Papillon, Pierre, who died June 1 due to side effects from wearing a popular flea and tick collar for pets, at Colonial Park in Somerset, N.J., on Monday, March 1, 2021.

“We believe that the actual number of deaths and injuries is much greater, since the average consumer would not know to report pet harm to EPA, an agency seemingly unrelated to consumer pet products,” Krishnamoorthi wrote in the letter.

Seresto collars were developed by German pharmaceutical giant Bayer, but the company sold its Animal Health division, which includes the Seresto collar, to Elanco for $7.5 billion in 2020. In 2019, Bayer reported revenues of more than $300 million on sales of the collar.

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