(a) It shall be the duty of the Commissioner to sample, inspect, make analysis of, and test commercial fertilizers offered for sale, sold, or distributed within the State at such time and place and to such an extent as he may deem necessary to determine whether such commercial fertilizers are in compliance with the provisions of this Article. The Commissioner is authorized with permission or under court warrant to enter upon any public or private premises during regular business hours or at any time business is being conducted therein in order to have access to commercial fertilizers subject to the provisions of this Article and the rules and regulations thereto.
(b) The methods of sampling shall be as follows:
(1) For the purposes of analysis by the Commissioner and for comparison with the guarantee supplied to the Commissioner in accordance with G.S. 106-660 and 106-661, the Commissioner, shall take an official sample of not less than one pound from containers of commercial fertilizer. No sample shall be taken from less than five containers. Portions shall be taken from containers as shown in the following table:
5 to 10 containers all containers
11 to 20 containers 10 containers
21 to 40 containers 15 containers
above 40 containers 20 containers
Ten cores from bulk lots or as specified by the Association of Official Analytical Chemists (A.O.A.C.).
(2) A core sampler shall be used that removes a core from a bag or other container in a horizontal position from a corner to the diagonal corner at the other end of the package, and the cores taken shall be mixed, and if necessary, shall be reduced after thoroughly mixing, to the quantity of sample required. The composite sample taken from any lot of commercial fertilizer under the provisions of this subdivision shall be placed in a tight container and shall be forwarded to the Commissioner with proper identification marks.
(3) The Board of Agriculture may modify the provisions of this subsection to bring them into conformity with any changes that may hereafter be made in the official methods of and recommendations for sampling commercial fertilizers which shall have been adopted by the Association of Official Analytical Chemists or by the Association of American Plant Food Control Officials. Thereafter, such methods and recommendations shall be used in all sampling done in connection with the administration of this Article in lieu of those prescribed in subdivisions (1) and (2) of this subsection.
(4) All samples taken under the provisions of this section shall be taken from original unbroken bags or containers, the contents of which have not been damaged by exposure, water or otherwise; provided, that any commercial fertilizer offered for sale, sold or distributed in bulk may be sampled in a manner approved by the Commissioner.
(5) The Commissioner shall refuse to analyze all samples except those taken under the provisions of this section and no sample, unless so taken, shall be admitted as evidence in the trial of any suit or action wherein there is called into question the value or composition of any lot of commercial fertilizer distributed under the provisions of this Article.
(6) In the trial of any suit or action wherein there is called in question the value or composition of any lot of commercial fertilizer, a certificate signed by the fertilizer chemist and attested with the seal of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, setting forth the analysis made by the chemist of the Department of any sample of said commercial fertilizer, drawn under the provisions of this section and analyzed by them under the provisions of the same, shall be prima facie proof that the lot of fertilizer represented by the sample was of the value and constituency shown by said analysis. And the said certificate of the chemist shall be admissible in evidence.
(c) The methods of analysis shall be those adopted as official by the Board of Agriculture and shall conform to sound laboratory practices as evidenced by methods prescribed by the Association of Official Analytical Chemists of the United States. In the absence of methods prescribed by the Board, the Commissioner shall prescribe the methods of analysis.
(d) The result of official analysis of any commercial fertilizer which has been found to be subject to penalty shall be forwarded by the Commissioner to the registrant at least 10 days before the report is submitted to the purchaser. If, during that period, no adequate evidence to the contrary is made available to the Commissioner, the report shall become official. Upon request the Commissioner shall furnish to the registrant a portion of any sample found subject to penalty.
(e) Any purchaser or consumer may take and have a sample of mixed fertilizer or fertilizer material analyzed for available plant food, if taken in accordance with the following rules and regulations:
(1) At least five days before taking a sample, the purchaser or consumer shall notify the manufacturer or seller of the brand in writing, at his permanent address, of his intention to take such a sample and shall request the manufacturer or seller to designate a representative to be present when the sample is taken.
(2) The sample shall be drawn in the presence of the manufacturer, seller, or representative designated by either party together with two disinterested adult persons; or in case the manufacturer, seller, or representative of either refuses or is unable to witness the drawing of such a sample, a sample may be drawn in the presence of three disinterested adult persons; provided, any such sample shall be taken with the same type of sampler as used by the inspector of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in taking samples and shall be drawn, mixed, and divided, as directed in subdivisions (1), (2), (3), and (4) of subsection (b) of this section, except that the sample shall be divided into two parts each to consist of at least one pound. Each of these is to be placed into a separate, tight container, securely sealed, properly labeled, and one sent to the Commissioner for analysis and the other to the manufacturer. A certificate statement in a form which will be prescribed and supplied by the Commissioner must be signed by the parties taking and witnessing the taking of the sample. Such certificate is to be made and signed in duplicate and one copy sent to the Commissioner and the other to the manufacturer or seller of the brand sampled. The witnesses of the taking of any sample, as provided for in this section, shall be required to certify that such sample has been continuously under their observation from the taking of the sample up to and including the delivery of it to an express agency, a post office or to the office of the Commissioner.
(3) Samples drawn in conformity with the requirements of this section shall have the same legal status in the courts of the State, as those drawn by the Commissioner or any official inspector appointed by him as provided for in subsection (b) of this section.
(4) No suit for damages claimed to result from the use of any lot of mixed fertilizer or fertilizer material may be brought unless it shall be shown by an analysis of a sample taken and analyzed in accordance with the provisions of this Article, that the said lot of fertilizer as represented by a sample or samples taken in accordance with the provisions of this section does not conform to the provisions of this Article with respect to the composition of the mixed fertilizer or fertilizer material, unless it shall appear to the Commissioner that the manufacturer of the fertilizer in question has, in the manufacture of other goods offered in this State during such season, employed such ingredients as are prohibited by the provisions of this Article, or unless it shall appear to the Commissioner that the manufacturer of such fertilizer has offered for sale during that season any kind of dishonest or fraudulent goods or unless it shall appear to the Commissioner that the manufacturer of the fertilizer in question, or a representative, agent or employee of the manufacturer, has violated any provisions of G.S. 106-663. (1947, c. 1086, s. 7; 1955, c. 354, s. 3; 1973, c. 1304, s. 1; 1977, c. 303, s. 8; 1981, c. 448, s. 8; 1997-261, ss. 68, 69.)
Last modified: March 23, 2014