Candice Spalding, Compliance and Enforcement Branch Chief, Organization: USDA, AMS, Fruit & Vegetable &V Program, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, 202.720.6585
Reduce food loss by ensuring that alternative outlets exist for fresh table grapes that aren’t inspected or that don’t meet certain federal marketing order requirements. The California Desert Grape Marketing Order authorizes grade, size, quality, maturity, pack, and container requirements from April 10 to July 10 each year for almost all table grape varieties. Section 8e of the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, as amended (AMAA), requires imported table grapes to meet the same or comparable federal marketing order standards as the domestic product in order to be sold on the open market. The marketing order provides authority for special purpose shipments to be exempt from inspection requirements, but it does not designate any exempted outlets under this authority.
Identify marketing orders with corresponding Section 8e requirements on imports, and determine whether they allow product that isn’t inspected, or that doesn’t meet certain federal marketing order requirements, to be donated to charities or used for other exempted purposes. If these alternative exempted outlets are not allowed, product that doesn’t meet the marketing order requirements must be used for processing, destroyed, or may be turned back in the case of imports.
Completed May 2013
The marketing order administered by the California Desert Grape Administrative Committee is the only marketing order that doesn’t specify exempted outlets. AMS staff confirmed that there currently is authority to accommodate additional exempted outlets under the marketing order.
Late May 2013
At the next Committee meeting in November, AMS will bring up the issue of adding exempted outlets for special purpose shipments in order to reduce food waste.
If the Committee is interested in adding exempted outlets, AMS will work with the Committee and use informal rulemaking to facilitate the necessary changes in regulations under the marketing order. Once the changes have been made to the marketing order, AMS will consider using rulemaking to make the same changes to the import regulations. Ultimately, the changes will allow domestic producers and importers of table grapes to donate or pursue an alternative market for product that does not meet certain marketing order requirements.
November 2013 – July 2014