When the State Board of Agriculture and Industries determines that a better grade and quality of fresh fruits and vegetables will be produced in any area in the State of Alabama by requiring that such fresh fruits and vegetables be inspected in order that an official grade may be marked upon containers, labels or tags of containers in which fresh fruits and vegetables are packed, the State Board of Agriculture and Industries shall have authority to require that fresh fruits and vegetables moved or transported from such area in containers shall be inspected prior to movement or shipment and the grade thereof properly marked or imprinted upon such containers. The State Board of Agriculture and Industries is hereby authorized to require inspection, grading and labeling of any of the agricultural products defined in this article as fresh fruits and vegetables prior to shipment from the area in the State of Alabama designated by such board. Such authority shall be exercised only after an investigation of the conditions in any area or areas and after public hearings are held following publication of notice thereof in order that producers and shippers may be heard as to whether it is for their best interest to require such inspection. The State Board of Agriculture and Industries may, for the purpose of determining an area or areas in which compulsory inspection of fresh fruits and vegetables shall apply, use county boundaries in designating such areas. After the State Board of Agriculture and Industries has designated any area or areas of the State of Alabama in which fresh fruits and vegetables must be inspected prior to shipment or movement out of such area, such board shall be authorized and empowered to adopt rules and regulations to carry out the evident intent and purpose of this section by providing for the manner and method of inspection, labeling, transportation or movement of fresh fruits and vegetables from such areas, and may exempt movements of certain quantities of fresh fruits and vegetables from inspection and labeling requirements when it finds that such action will be consistent with the intent and purpose of this section. It shall be unlawful to ship, move or transport fresh fruits and vegetables in violation of any of the provisions of this section or rules and regulations adopted and promulgated hereunder. Compulsory inspection and labeling shall not be required by the Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries or the State Board of Agriculture and Industries unless the testimony at the hearing held under this section has been transcribed in writing and it appears from such testimony that a majority of growers and shippers in the area affected favor such inspection and labeling.
Last modified: May 3, 2021