USDA: Transcription of QA session from tomato web seminar - The Packer

USDA: Transcription of QA session from tomato web seminar

03/18/2013 03:45:00 PM
Tom Karst

If the petitioning U.S. industry sought to withdraw or terminate the Agreement and investigation, why is there a revised Agreement?

I think if you read the various documents, the Federal Register notice, that request was made. The prior Agreement the U.S. industry did not think it was meeting the requirements. When we entered into negotiations with the Mexican tomato growers, we consulted with the U.S. industry and we are certain the current agreement meets the requirements of U.S. law.

If a whole load is rejected, can it then be re-graded to sell good produce and dump bad product?

If the whole load is rejected, those tomatoes can never be sold. They cannot enter the fresh market, or the processed product. They have to be destroyed or donated to a food bank.

With the sheer volume of tomatoes coming in, how can Commerce and USDA monitor it effectively? We have various mechanisms in place; we have the involvement of the Mexican growers associations. We monitor the prices, we verify, we get different reports, we are monitoring it on a daily basis. We look at the AMS reports. It is just something we do on a daily basis.

For the definition of a controlled environment do all the components have to be true to be considered controlled environment?

Yes, that is a very specific definition.

In the case where a broker is selling to a processor, all requirements being met package-wise, can the shipper-grower sell to a broker, then a broker sell to a processor?

Again, the first sale has to be at or above the reference price and so if the first sale was to a broker above the reference price that is the sale that is subject to Agreement. What happens to them afterwards is not a factor for the Agreement.

There is a question of getting information on the farms, who is checking on the production methods? The new Agreement includes measures, as I mentioned, by the Mexican government. We are going to have collaborative information sharing;we also get reports from the associations. We have gone to visit the growers and verified there before, so we do have authority to do that under the Agreement.

The question is, I understand the Agreement requires 100% compliance, but you just said the law requires compliance of only by 85%.

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