USDA Amends Regulations Governing Audit-Based Services

October 06, 2020

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced today that it is combining multiple audit-based services under the authority of 7 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) part 62, Quality Systems Verification Programs. Merging the audits under a single regulatory reference enables the agency’s voluntary, user-fee audit services to better meet stakeholder’s needs by maintaining uniformity, transparency and efficiency of delivery.

The final rule was published in the Federal Register on Oct. 6, 2020, and will take effect on Nov. 5, 2020. A proposed rule for this action was published on Feb. 19, 2020, and provided a 60-day public comment period.

Over the last several years, AMS has partnered with stakeholders to offer audit-based services to facilitate the marketing of dairy, livestock, poultry and fresh and processed specialty crop commodities, and to help stakeholders meet seed, shell egg and laboratory requirements that assure industry best practices are being employed. The impartial audit-based services complement the agency’s traditional product grading and certification services and support the efforts of U.S. agriculture producers, manufacturers, processors and handlers in providing high-quality products to customers while responding to the needs of their buyers and the marketplace.

AMS services now under 7 CFR part 62 were previously contained in 7 CFR parts 51, 52, 56, 58, 62, 70, 75 and 7 CFR Chapter I, Subchapter E, parts 90 and 91.

The revisions clarify that all voluntary, user-fee services under this part are applicable to all commodities covered by the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946.

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