There has been a noticeable increase in training requests, with wholesalers asking about training certification. International Produce Training does provide training certification to all attendees that successfully complete their training program. Some of the inspection procedure training objectives include:
- To read and understand U.S. Grade Standards and defect tolerances
- Defect identification
- Defect scoring guidelines
- Proper inspection procedures, including sampling, sizing and cutting for internal defects
- Proper use of inspection terminology and use of general terms
- The ability to determine if a lot is in grade or out of grade
The USDA is simply out-pricing themselves right out of the inspection business. Most chain stores and major wholesalers refuse to request inspections from the USDA. If a shipper requests an inspection on rejected product the receiver will oblige, but the inspection fees for all rejected product are borne by the shipper. But with the USDA poised to raise their inspection fees once again, shippers across the country are depending on the receivers’ own in-house inspections to determine where to send rejected loads. If the receiver demonstrates a competent quality assurance staff, the shipper will accept their inspection numbers and fore-go paying the USDA’s inflated inspection fees. Many wholesalers are also using the certification to present to potential customers, ensuring their product is indeed top quality.
Aside from inspection fees, many receivers are finding it more and more difficult to find a local USDA inspection office to perform inspections. I asked one recent company if they used the USDA inspection service for their problem loads and the buyer responded, “The USDA? Are they still doing inspections?” Not too long ago there were USDA offices and inspectors in Providence, RI, Charleston, WV, New Orleans, LA, Salt Lake City, UT, El Paso, TX, Buffalo, NY, Harrisburg, PA, Knoxville, TN and Columbus, OH. No more. If a shipper or receiver wishes to request an inspection in most parts of the country they face inspection fees of at least $115 per commodity, round trip mileage of $1.32/mile and possible additional overtime at a rate of $38/hour, all totally up to hundreds and hundreds of dollars.
Fortunately IPT will provide wholesalers receiving staff certification for successfully completing the training course and shippers are welcome to verify any certifications.