Code Section Group

Food and Agricultural Code - FAC


  ( Division 1 enacted by Stats. 1967, Ch. 15. )


  ( Heading of Part 1 amended by Stats. 1976, Ch. 1079. )

CHAPTER 8. Agriculture Theft Prevention [851 - 885]

  ( Chapter 8 added by Stats. 1986, Ch. 661, Sec. 1. )

ARTICLE 4. Enforcement [881 - 885]
  ( Article 4 added by Stats. 1986, Ch. 661, Sec. 1. )


Any peace officer, upon probable cause to believe an agricultural commodity regulated pursuant to this chapter is being unlawfully transported, may stop the vehicle and request proof of ownership of the commodity.

(Added by Stats. 1986, Ch. 661, Sec. 1.)


Upon reasonable belief that a person is in unlawful possession of a commodity regulated by this chapter, the commodity may be held or seized by the secretary, the commissioner, or any peace officer and shall be turned over to the custody of the commissioner. The commissioner may hold the commodity on the premises where it was seized or may take possession of the commodity and maintain custody until disposed of according to the requirements of Section 884.

(Amended by Stats. 2009, Ch. 487, Sec. 2. (AB 905) Effective January 1, 2010.)


The director, the commissioner, or a peace officer may investigate to ascertain the ownership of any commodity that has been held pursuant to this chapter. If the lawful owner is located, the commodity shall be released to the owner, or his or her agent. The commissioner may require reasonable payment to cover costs incurred in the storing of the commodity, but not to exceed the value of the commodity being held.

(Added by Stats. 1986, Ch. 661, Sec. 1.)


(a) If for any reason the commodity is not released to the rightful owner after being in the custody of the commissioner for 48 hours or, in the case of a highly perishable commodity, any shorter period of time that the commissioner deems necessary, the commissioner may either sell the commodity by public auction or by private sale at fair market value to a commercial packer of the commodity, or, after 72 hours from the time of seizure, may donate the commodity to a nonprofit charitable organization. If donated, the commodity shall not be sold by the receiving party. If sold, all of the proceeds derived from the sale of the commodity shall be held by the commissioner for a period of not less than six months, during which time the lawful owner of the commodity may submit satisfactory proof of ownership and obtain possession of the proceeds. The commissioner may require the payment by the owner of an amount sufficient to cover the costs incurred for a storage and sale of the commodity, but not to exceed the sale price of the commodity. If, after retention of the proceeds for a period of at least six months, no demand is made or if proof of ownership is not supplied, the commissioner shall deposit the proceeds of the sale of the commodity in the general fund of the county.

(b) If the commodity is unfit for human consumption, the commissioner may destroy it.

(Amended by Stats. 2002, Ch. 946, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2003.)


In lieu of civil prosecution, the secretary or the commissioner may levy a civil penalty against any person violating the provisions of this chapter or any regulation adopted pursuant to its provisions. The civil penalty for each violation shall be, for a first violation, a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500). For a second or subsequent violation, the fine shall be not less than one hundred dollars ($100), nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000). Before a civil penalty is levied, the person charged with the violation shall receive notice of the nature of the violation and shall be given an opportunity to be heard. This shall include the right to review the evidence and a right to present evidence on his or her own behalf. Subdivision (e) of Section 43003 shall apply to any fine levied pursuant to this section.

(Added by Stats. 2005, Ch. 220, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2006.)

FACFood and Agricultural Code - FAC4