A proposed change in USDA inspections performed by the Texas Cooperative Inspection Program, TCIP that was expected to take place on Oct. 1 of this year has been postponed until Oct. 1, 2022.
According to the September Texas International Produce Association newsletter, the inspections in the Texas-Mexico border region “were due to begin charging for Brands or Labels in the inspection lots (+$96 per lot).” The newsletter said, “TIPA has been in discussions with USDA on this matter for the last several months, sharing our concerns regarding the added costs and working with USDA to find a solution.”
The postponement, TIPA said that it is “happy to report,” means “the Brand-level fees for TX-MX border region will not start until Oct. 1, 2022. Over the next year, USDA, TCIP, and TIPA will work closely to develop and eventually implement a solution which is more attuned to the needs of all our organizations.”
Notice of the decision to postpone came from Nathaniel Tickner, Chief of the Federal-State Inspection Management Branch of the USDA Specialty Crops Inspection Division.
Tickner said in the announcement, “In April 2021, we notified you that on June 1, 2021, the Texas Cooperative Inspection Program (TCIP) would implement lot separation procedures for specialty crops sampling and inspection to ensure uniformity of USDA policy in Texas. TCIP is a cooperator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that provides specialty crops inspection services in the State of Texas on behalf of USDA.”
He continued, “Under these procedures, TCIP must separate lots if there are differences in brands, container sizes, grades, varieties, and PLI marks. Lot separation allows our inspectors to collect statistically representative samples to make an accurate quality determination of each carlot.”
And, he said, “Recognizing that the TCIP’s implementation of the required procedures would impact our customers’ costs, we delayed charging fees associated with the implementation of lot separation policies and procedures until Oct. 1, 2022.” Tickner said the decision was made in “consideration of the ongoing financial impacts to the industry related to the pandemic” and he said, “In the interim, SCI will continue our outreach with industry stakeholders and TCIP to streamline inspections and minimize costs. We look forward to continuing our productive working relationship with you.”