The Fair Trade Practices Program is comprised of 4 divisions: the Food Disclosure and Labeling Division, the Packers and Stockyards Division, the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act Division, and the Warehouse and Commodity Management Division.
Food Disclosure and Labeling Division
The Food Disclosure and Labeling Division (FDLD) is responsible for managing two important food labeling laws: Country of Origin Labeling and the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard.
Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) is a labeling law that requires retailers, such as full-line grocery stores, supermarkets and club warehouse stores, to notify their customers with information regarding the source of certain foods. Food products covered by the law include muscle cut and ground meats: lamb, goat, and chicken; wild and farm-raised fish and shellfish; fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables; peanuts, pecans, and macadamia nuts; and ginseng.
The National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (BE Standard) requires food manufacturers, importers, and certain retailers to ensure bioengineered foods are appropriately disclosed. Regulated entities have several disclosure options: text, symbol, electronic or digital link, and/or text message. Additional options such as a phone number or web address are available to small food manufacturers or for small and very small packages. USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service developed the List of Bioengineered Foods to identify the crops or foods that are commercially available in a bioengineered form throughout the world and for which regulated entities must maintain records. These records will inform regulated entities about whether they must make a bioengineered food disclosure.
Packers and Stockyards Division
The Packers and Stockyards Division (PSD) promotes fair business practices and competitive environments to market livestock, meat, and poultry. Through its oversight activities under the Packers and Stockyards (P&S) Act, including monitoring programs, reviews, and investigations, PSD fosters fair competition, and provides payment protection. It also guards against deceptive and fraudulent trade practices that affect the movement and price of meat animals and their products. PSD's work protects consumers and members of the livestock, meat, and poultry industries. PSD's major enforcement areas are payment protection, unfair, deceptive, and fraudulent practices, and competition.
Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act Division
The Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA) was enacted at the request of the fruit and vegetable industry to promote fair trade in the industry. PACA protects businesses dealing in fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables by establishing and enforcing a code of fair business practices and by helping companies resolve business disputes. AMS is responsible for administering PACA and offers many PACA-related services to the produce industry.
Warehouse and Commodity Management Division
The Warehouse and Commodity Management Division (WCMD) administers the U.S. Warehouse Act (USWA) and the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) storage agreements. This includes issuing licenses and storage agreements, and performing warehouse examinations to ensure the integrity of both the commodities stored in these facilities, as well as the facilities themselves. In addition, WCMD:
- Acquires, barters, sells and manages CCC-owned inventories; and routinely analyzes locations, conditions and quantity of the stocks as part of their quality assurance processes.
- Establishes the Posted County Prices (PCPs) that are used to determine alternative loan repayment rates for CCC marketing assistance loans and loan deficiency payments. These prices conform to legislation and policy and program objectives.
- Operates the Economic Adjustment Assistance for Textile Mills (EAATM) Program for upland cotton, and the Special Competitive Provisions Program for Extra Long Staple (ELS) cotton.
- Boost fair trade practices by strengthening internal controls and price management, and providing reliable protections for producers storing products in USWA-licensed or CCC-approved warehouses.
Fair Trade Practices Program
Agricultural Marketing Service
US Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20250
Michael V. Durando, Deputy Administrator
Angie Snyder, Associate Deputy Administrator
Sheila Drake, Chief of Staff
Stuart Frank, Director, Packers and Stockyards Division
Paul Lewis, Director, Food Disclosure and Labeling Division
Judith W. Rudman, Director, Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act Division
Ned Bergman, Director, Warehouse Commodity Management Division