Date: May 21, 2013

When should a FOB shipper request a USDA inspection at contract destination?  In my opinion, the answer is never! The only thing a FOB shipper should be requesting from its buyer is payment of the FOB invoice.

Let me explain. The burden is always on the buyer to prove the produce it purchased failed to meet contract specifications (good arrival standards) upon arrival.  How does the buyer do that? By securing a USDA inspection. Therefore, you, as a shipper, would never want to request that your buyer have the product inspected. Instead, let your buyer make its own decisions on whether or not to get the product inspected upon arrival.

However, as the shipper, if you need to pursue a truck claim because of your relationship with the buyer, you must always obtain an USDA inspection to prove that the transportation actually caused damage to the product.  This would come into play only when you do not want to enforce your FOB contract with your buyer for whatever reason.

In the case of an unwarranted rejection made without the benefit of an USDA inspection by the buyer, make sure you have the product inspected when you move it to show evidence that the product met contract specifications.

Whenever an inspection is requested, make sure that it is always an unrestricted and timely inspection, which means the inspector can obtain samples from any part of the lot.

Whenever in doubt you can always give me a call to discuss your options.

WG Staff Contact

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