Fee and Inspection Information
SPI 518-158 (Rev. 7/22/2022)
Time Charges/Minimum Hourly Rate
For any work to which the Regular Charges are not properly adapted, or for which they are not adequate, a time charge shall be made at the rate of $46.00 per hour for all time required, including travel and check-in time. Time will be charged to the nearest one-tenth (1/10) hour. The minimum charge in this connection shall be $32.00.
Time charges shall be in lieu of regular fees, but shall not be used when the time charge would be less than the regular fees.
In cases of inspections covering small lots, or different commodities, charges shall be either on a time basis of $46.00 per hour, or $32.00 per certificate/commodity, whichever is greater.
Container Rates vs. Minimum Hourly Rates
Container rates are established by commodity at a rate that reflects many possible variables. These may include normal inspection location, inspection complexity, container sizes, sample size, normal packing speed, etc.
The container rate is used if it equals or exceeds the minimum hourly rate.
Minimum hourly and container fees do not include travel and/or overtime. Those charges will be assessed in addition to the regular charges.
When inspection is requested that will require the assignment of inspectors at a point where the volume of work, at Regular Charges, would not be adequate to pay the expense of handling the work, an expense guarantee may be required. This will include:
- Travel time covering the transfer of the inspector to the inspection station and mileage may be charged at the discretion of the district supervisor.
- An average of eight (8) hours per day at $46.00 per hour for a minimum of five (5) workdays each week during the assignments, exclusive of overtime charges.
- When Regular Charges equal or exceed the expense Guarantee for a period or season involved, the Regular Charges shall apply.
- Charges will not be made for nonworking holidays or Sundays when work is not performed.
- Credit will be given toward this guarantee for any work performed for other applicants.
- Charges on this basis may be made for an entire season's operation or any specified period of time during season of operation.
Note: The above Expense Guarantees are not applicable when an Application for Blanket Inspection is in effect. See Contractual Agreements.
Charges for inspection (a) for an industry group or organization on a cost basis, or (b) a combination hourly and package charge, may be made by application with the approval of the Sacramento Headquarters Office of the Shipping Point Inspection Program. Mileage charges will be made in connection with other charges at the discretion of the supervising inspector.
Partners in Quality (PIQ) Fees
Partners In Quality is an inspection program. All commodities that participate in the PIQ program will be charged the following fees regardless of commodity.
"Mock" Validation Audits — $560.00 per audit
Mock audits are performed at the request of the applicant for purposes of evaluation. USDA does not require these audits for program compliance.
Validation Audits — $560.00 per audit
Validation audits are required for program compliance. This is the process that enables the applicant to participate in the PIQ program.
Verification Audits — $72.00 per auditor per hour
This rate is per auditor per hour since more than one inspector is required for this program.
The above rates apply to the actual audits only. Travel time and mileage charges, when appropriate, shall be charged at the basic hourly and mileage rates.
Good Handling Practices/Good Agricultural Practices (GHP/GAP) Audits
$115.00 per audit hour, this includes all travel time, mileage, and per diem.
The only exception is if more than one auditor is used to facilitate the audit, then the rate should be per auditor.
Customer Assisted Inspection Program
CAIP is an inspection program. All commodities/applicants that participate in the CAIP will be charged the rate of $50.50 per hour. Additional overtime and mileage charges when applicable will be charged in accordance to the published rates herein.
Saturday, Sunday, and Holiday Charges
No inspection work will be performed on the following legal holidays: New Year's Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.
Work on Sunday will be performed to comply with religious groups who consider Sunday a working day when Saturday has been observed as their Sabbath. In these cases, charges shall be the same as for any other regular workday.
Work on Sundays, other than explained above, will be performed when it is necessary to ensure compliance with Federal or State Marketing Orders. In these cases, charges shall be the same as any other regular workday.
Work on Sundays, other than explained in the two preceding paragraphs, will be performed only in cases of actual emergency, but only with permission from the Sacramento Headquarters Office or a Program Supervisor.
The minimum charges for work under these conditions shall be $184.00, exclusive of overtime charges. This cost may be divided between two or more applicants.
Work on Saturdays will be performed when requested. The minimum charge for Saturday work will be $184.00, exclusive of overtime charges. This cost may be divided between two or more applicants.
On all other legal holidays work will be performed as requested and fees charged on the same basis as any regular workday.
Minimum Fee Per Certificate
A minimum of $32.00 shall be charged for each certificate.
An additional charge for mileage at a rate in accordance with the Department of Personnel Administration will be made, in connection with other charges.
Future mileage charges shall be adjusted each July 1 to conform to the Internal Revenue Service standard mileage rate that Branch employees may claim as reimbursement.
In addition to the (1) Regular Container Fee Charge, (2) Time Charges, (3) Expense Guarantee, or (4) Sunday and Holiday Charges, an additional charge of $8.50 per hour will be made for all work performed after eight (8) hours worked or after 5:00 P.M., whichever occurs first. The overtime rate does not apply to shift work, unless the shift exceeds eight (8.0) hours.
If an inspector works for two or more applicants, the total overtime charges shall be equitably prorated between those applicants.
* Note: No time or overtime shall be charged during the time taken off by the inspector for meals or for other personal business.
When an applicant requests an inspection at a specific time the applicant will be responsible for waiting time which is not reasonable.
Example: An inspector is requested for 8:00 A.M. and the product is not made available for inspection until 9:00 A.M. In addition to the regular container rate, the applicant must pay for an additional one (1) hour at the established hourly rate.
Certifying Net Weight
When requested to certify net weight, in addition to the regular inspection fee, the regular hourly rate will apply. It will normally take a minimum of two (2) hours to certify net weight on any lot regardless of the number of containers. The minimum number of samples to be taken is thirty-six 36. Refer to the General Shipping Point Inspection Handbook.
Certifying Product Temperatures
For all commodities (in addition to the regular inspection fee) - - $.025 per container, or $46.00 per hour, whichever is the greater amount, will apply.
The issuance of USDA Form 294, in connection with the inspection of apples and pears, for certification with respect to quarantine restrictions for foreign countries, $4.20 will be charged for each lot requiring Form 294, when this work is handled in conjunction with grade certification. When not handled in conjunction with grade certification, the regular hourly rate shall apply, including travel and mileage charges.
Lost Original or Split Certificate
This requires superseding the original certificate. The cost under these circumstances will be $32.00 per superseded certificate.
Extra Certificate Copies
When it is necessary to issue certificate copies that cannot be obtained from the issuing field office, a charge of $5.25 for each certificate shall be made. There shall be no additional charge for the number of copies made.
There will be a service charge of $12.50 per Confirmation Communique. When this is necessary, due to errors on the part of the Inspection Service, no service charge shall be made. In this case, the cost of the Confirmation Communique shall be borne by the Inspection Service.
A service charge of $12.50 shall be made for each long-distance facsimile requested by an applicant. Late Payment Penalty
* Note: (Authority cited: Section 40531, Food & Agriculture Code).
* All fees for inspection and certification services performed by the Shipping Point Inspection Branch are due and payable at the time the inspection and certification is completed, unless the fees are covered by a Surety Bond procured by the applicant in the name of the Department, in which case the applicant shall be billed by the Department at the end of the billing period in which the charges were accrued.
* Billing periods: There shall be twelve monthly billing periods during each fiscal year beginning July 1 and ending June 30. Any amounts for which payment is not received within (15) calendar days after mailing of invoices shall be subject to late payment penalty charges which shall begin to accrue the 16th calendar day after the initial invoice is mailed. Late payment charges shall be billed as part of the invoice for the subsequent billing period.
* Late Payment Penalty: A late payment penalty of 1.5% per month shall be charged on the delinquent portion of each invoice and shall be compounded utilizing the above procedure at the completion of the invoicing process. The above penalties apply to all delinquent accounts after the effective date of this subsection.