Code Section Group

Food and Agricultural Code - FAC

DIVISION 17. FRUIT, NUT, AND VEGETABLE STANDARDS [42501 - 49014]

  ( Division 17 enacted by Stats. 1967, Ch. 15. )

CHAPTER 9. Avocados [44971 - 45042]

  ( Chapter 9 enacted by Stats. 1967, Ch. 15. )

ARTICLE 1. Container Certification and Fees [44971 - 44988]
  ( Heading of Article 1 renumbered from Article 2 by Stats. 1982, Ch. 141, Sec. 1. )

44971.
  

(a) The handling and marketing of avocados is affected with the public interest. The provisions of this chapter are enacted for the protection of the avocado industry and for the purposes of protecting the health, peace, safety, and general welfare of the people of this state.

(b) Avocados produced in this state which are being prepared for market shall be certified as complying with the maturity and quality provisions established by regulations of the director.

(Amended by Stats. 1982, Ch. 141, Sec. 1.5. Effective March 31, 1982.)

44972.
  

If the director finds that avocados which are being prepared for market conform to the applicable standards, he shall so indicate by an official stamp placed on each flat, carton, or any other container by, or under the supervision of, the inspector, stating that the applicable standards have been complied with on the date of pack. Except as provided in this chapter or regulations of the director, it is unlawful for any person to ship to market or otherwise place into the channels of trade any container of avocados which does not bear the official stamp placed thereon pursuant to the provisions of this chapter and regulations promulgated pursuant to this chapter.

(Amended by Stats. 1982, Ch. 141, Sec. 2. Effective March 31, 1982.)

44973.
  

It is unlawful for any person, including a grower, packer, handler, or retailer to pack, handle, or sell any lot of avocados which are not in compliance with maturity and quality standards established through regulations of the director.

(Repealed (by Sec. 4) and added by Stats. 1982, Ch. 141, Sec. 3. Effective March 31, 1982.)

44974.
  

(a) Any violation or threatened violation of any provision of this chapter or regulations of the director established pursuant to this chapter is unlawful and shall constitute grounds for injunctive relief and the imposition of civil penalties of not less than five hundred dollars ($500) and not exceeding five thousand dollars ($5,000) per violation. This action may be brought in a court of competent jurisdiction by the director or district attorney of a county in which a violation or threatened violation occurred. The California Avocado Commission and the Avocado Inspection Committee are also authorized to bring an action for injunctive relief on grounds provided for in this chapter. In bringing this action, the commission or committee is not required to allege facts necessary to show or which tend to show lack of an adequate remedy at law, or which show or tend to show irreparable damage or loss. Prior to commencing this action, the commission shall allow the director the opportunity to bring an action for injunctive relief following the same procedure as provided for the committee in Section 45015. Notwithstanding the director’s decision on whether or not to bring an action for injunctive relief, nothing in this section or in Section 45015 shall be construed as preventing the commission from bringing an action for injunctive relief.

(b) In addition to the requirements of subdivision (a), and except as provided in subdivision (c) and Sections 42945, 42948, 42949, and 44986, a violation of this chapter is an infraction punishable by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500).

(c) It is unlawful for any person to fail to comply with the inspection or certification requirements of this chapter. A violation is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than two hundred fifty dollars ($250) nor more than five thousand dollars (5,000) or by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than six months, or by both the fine and imprisonment.

(d) Each violation or threatened violation involving a lot of avocados shall be treated as a separate violation. Any number of defendants in any number of counties may be joined in one action even though the violations or threatened violations are not the same, and jurisdiction for the action may be established in any county in which any of the violations or threatened violations occur.

(Amended by Stats. 1989, Ch. 1068, Sec. 2. Effective September 30, 1989.)

44975.
  

(a) Each handler of avocados shall pay to the director an inspection and certification fee each month. The fee shall be based on the number of pounds certified as determined by the director. However, in no event shall the fee be greater than twenty-five cents ($0.25) per hundredweight of pounds prepared for market. The number of pounds certified shall be reported monthly to the director, and these reports shall include all information required by the director. The fee required by this section shall be paid no later than the 10th day of the month following the month for which the fee is payable. Any handler who fails to pay the fee within the time required shall pay the director a penalty of 10 percent of the amount determined to be due, and, in addition, 11/2 percent interest per month on the unpaid balance. The director may adjust the fee from time to time and reduce it whenever he or she finds the cost of administering this article may be defrayed from revenue derived from lower fees.

(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), whenever the fees derived from pounds certified do not cover the cost of inspection, the director may establish hourly and mileage rates for inspection and certification of avocados based upon the cost of providing that inspection and certification. However, alternatively, a handler may present his or her avocados for inspection and certification on a date, time, and location specified by the director and pay the fees charged pursuant to subdivision (a).

(Amended by Stats. 1999, Ch. 609, Sec. 4. Effective January 1, 2000.)

44976.
  

The moneys which are received pursuant to this chapter shall be used only for the administration and enforcement of this chapter, including, but not limited to, payments to the county agricultural commissioners and to institutions of scientific research for improving the inspection and certification methods required by this chapter.

(Amended by Stats. 1988, Ch. 803, Sec. 1.)

44977.
  

The director may adopt such regulations as he determines are reasonably necessary to carry out the provisions of this chapter.

(Added by renumbering Section 44976 by Stats. 1982, Ch. 141, Sec. 8. Effective March 31, 1982.)

44978.
  

The director may enter into an agreement with any county agricultural commissioner for assistance in the enforcement of this chapter.

(Added by renumbering Section 44977 by Stats. 1982, Ch. 141, Sec. 9. Effective March 31, 1982.)

44979.
  

It is unlawful for any person to fail to comply with the provisions of this chapter and the regulations of the director adopted pursuant thereto.

(Added by Stats. 1982, Ch. 141, Sec. 10. Effective March 31, 1982.)

44980.
  

Every person who prepares avocados grown in this state for market shall report to the director, prior to this preparation, the date and time these avocados will be prepared for market. Avocados and their containers shall be made available for inspection and certification at the time of preparation for market.

(Added by Stats. 1982, Ch. 141, Sec. 11. Effective March 31, 1982.)

44980.5.
  

The director may prescribe a higher frequency of inspection or surveillance of a person or firm handling or packing avocados for sale, if the director determines either that repeated violations of this chapter have occurred, or has probable cause to believe that a violation is about to occur or has occurred. The director may charge the person or firm the costs of performing the higher frequency of inspection or surveillance necessary to prevent violations of either this chapter or regulations of the director. Costs shall be based upon the approximate cost of the service which is rendered. This charge shall be in addition to the fee provided for in subdivision (a) of Section 44975 and shall be paid in accordance with subdivision (a) of Section 44975. Any person assessed a cost under this subdivision shall have the right of appeal to the director.

(Added by Stats. 1982, Ch. 1301, Sec. 3. Effective September 23, 1982.)

44981.
  

(a) Inspection to determine maturity of avocados may be performed prior to preparation for market, either at roadside by the orchard or enroute to or at the first point of packing. The results shall serve as a cause for placing all or any sizes of the avocados under a disposal order for testing after grading or packing when the oil content is less than required by this chapter.

(b) Any lot of avocados suspected as being in noncompliance with the provisions of this chapter shall be placed under a disposal order for control to a specified location in this state for disposition.

(c) Nothing in this section shall be construed as requiring inspection prior to preparation for market.

(d) For purposes of this section “roadside inspection” means an inspection conducted for quality and maturity standards at or near the place of production, or on the transporting vehicle while the product is in transit, or at a place where avocados are being stored.

(Added by Stats. 1982, Ch. 141, Sec. 12. Effective March 31, 1982.)

44982.
  

Each handler of avocados shall prepare and retain for two years up-to-date records of daily transactions. These records shall contain, but not be limited to, the amount of avocados received, shipped, packed, transported, dumped, and on hand at the end of each day. Amounts for each transaction shall be kept by variety in pounds, number of containers by container type, and size when the avocados have been segregated by size.

(Amended by Stats. 1982, Ch. 1301, Sec. 4. Effective September 23, 1982.)

44983.
  

It shall be unlawful for any person to falsify or cause to be falsified the record or information required to be kept pursuant to Section 44982.

(Added by Stats. 1982, Ch. 141, Sec. 14. Effective March 31, 1982.)

44984.
  

Any handler, packer, shipper, transporter, or grower of avocados who is required to keep records pursuant to Section 44982, shall allow the director or his or her authorized agent to examine or inspect these records during normal business hours and any other time when avocados are being packed or otherwise handled in a manner subject to the provisions of this chapter.

All records maintained pursuant to Section 44982 and made available to the director, shall be confidential and shall not be disclosed except when required in an administrative or judicial proceeding.

(Added by Stats. 1982, Ch. 141, Sec. 15. Effective March 31, 1982.)

44985.
  

The director may authorize the issuance and use of, or revocation of, a certification stamp as provided for under this chapter.

(Added by Stats. 1982, Ch. 141, Sec. 16. Effective March 31, 1982.)

44986.
  

It is unlawful for any person to do any of the following:

(a) Use a certification stamp for certifying containers or lots of avocados for other than containers previously inspected by the director’s authorized agent and designated to be stamped.

(b) Use the stamp at any time or in any manner other than provided in this chapter or contrary to the directions of the director’s authorized agent authorizing the use of the stamp.

(c) Refuse to surrender, each day after use, or upon demand of the director’s authorized agent, any certification stamp authorized to be used.

(d) Counterfeit or alter or use any counterfeit or altered certification stamp.

(e) A violation of this section is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than two hundred fifty dollars ($250) nor more than five thousand dollars ($5,000) or by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than six months, or by both the fine and imprisonment.

(Amended by Stats. 1989, Ch. 1068, Sec. 3. Effective September 30, 1989.)

44987.
  

In lieu of the certification stamp required under this chapter, the director may authorize issuance of a permit to any person or firm engaged in preparing avocados for market on an intermittent basis, or any other person on an emergency basis. The permit shall have an assigned number, and the containers of avocados for which the permit is issued shall be printed or labeled with the words “avocado permit” immediately followed by the number designation. Except on an emergency basis, a permit shall not be issued for more than ten containers and not more than four permits may be issued to any person, firm, or family of the same household during the calendar year.

(Added by Stats. 1982, Ch. 141, Sec. 18. Effective March 31, 1982.)

44988.
  

(a) The director may promulgate regulations which establish maturity standards governing the time at which avocados may be harvested. The regulations shall include minimum maturity requirements for the various varieties of avocados produced. The standards may be established in the form of a variable maturity range, which shall include a system for determination of avocado maturity. This system shall prescribe criteria and a method by which the dates of harvest and required maturity level, as measured by a recognized method of measuring avocado maturity, may be established by the director during each harvest season.

(b) The director may modify these requirements, from time to time, in order to insure that the quality standards for marketing avocados are maintained. These modifications shall not be subject to Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 11340) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code.

(Added by Stats. 1982, Ch. 1301, Sec. 5. Effective September 23, 1982.)

FACFood and Agricultural Code - FAC1