Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Inspection Service - FF&V

The Idaho State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) continues to reorganize to provide the best service possible to the agricultural industry. At the same time, Shipping Point Inspection is making an all out effort to contain costs. This is essential since the users of the service (producers, packers, and processors) pay the entire cost of the program, which totaled over $6.8 million last fiscal year. FF&V is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to serving all of Idaho's agricultural needs. Idaho has one of the largest and longest running shipping point programs in the United States, inspecting over 10.1 billion pounds of commodities in fiscal year 2009. Our staff inspects potatoes, onions, apples, peaches, pears, apricots, nectarines, cherries, plums, prunes, and pluots. View FY 2009 annual report (pdf).

The Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Inspection Service was started in 1917. Until 1922 its authority was restricted to work in destination markets where the inspections were made by federal market inspectors. In 1922 Congress extended the service to shipping points by adding to the authority the words, "when offered for interstate shipment".

When the work was extended to shipping points, no additional funds were provided by Congress for the expanded service requested by the industry. The federal department, working independently, could not collect fees and use them to pay the cost of the service. A plan was developed under which the inspection work at shipping point could be done under cooperative agreements with the states. These agreements provide that the inspectors are to be employed by the states and licensed by the federal department. The federal department supervises the inspection and certification work, for which it is reimbursed by the state.

The operation is a joint federal-state program entirely supported by fees collected from users of the service. The state collects fees and pays the inspectors' salaries and other expenses of operating the service. Its conduct is governed by applicable federal and state laws and regulations and a federal-state memorandum of agreement (AMS 12-25-A-4833 and Amendments). The director of agriculture, state of Idaho and the director of the Specialty Crops Inspection Division, AMS, USDA are its leaders. The demands of the service are voluntary for certification on most fruits and vegetables, however; potatoes and onions are under federal marketing orders. Each requires compulsory inspection and certification on nearly all shipments. Potato and onion growers and processors also use the fed-state inspection service to insure contract specifications are met and satisfy demands of sale at the farm gate.