PREPROPOSAL STATEMENT OF INQUIRY
Subject of Possible Rule Making: (1) Increase hourly inspection rates within the fiscal growth factor of 3.29% for FY2003 and 3.20% for FY2004 as allowed under Initiative 601.
(2) Adoption of the federal terminal market inspection hourly rate established by USDA/AMS/FPB.
(3) Establish fees for fresh produce audit verification program for good agricultural practices (GAP) and good handling practices (GHP).
Statutes Authorizing the Agency to Adopt Rules on this Subject: Chapter 15.17 RCW, Standards of grades and packs.
Reasons Why Rules on this Subject may be Needed and What They Might Accomplish: (1) Currently, hourly inspection rates are below the costs of providing services. Alignment of inspection charges with inspection practices and procedures.
(2) Adoption of the federal market inspection fees to establish fees for GAP and GHP audit certifications performed by federal/state licensed auditors for the USDA Fresh Produce Audit Verification Program.
(3) No rule currently established for fresh produce audit verifications of fruits and vegetables. Adoption of the federal terminal market inspection hourly rate would make the state and federal fees equal for this federal-state audit program.
Other Federal and State Agencies that Regulate this Subject and the Process Coordinating the Rule with These Agencies: None.
Process for Developing New Rule: Discussions and focus group meetings will be conducted with industry groups and stakeholders throughout the state.
Interested parties can participate in the decision to adopt the new rule and formulation of the proposed rule before publication by contacting Jim Quigley, Program Manager, Fruit and Vegetable Inspection Program, P.O. Box 42560, Olympia, WA 98504-2560, phone (360) 902-1832, fax (360) 902-2085.
January 22, 2003
Robert W. Gore