Subject 40-7-8 ADDITIONAL REGULATIONS APPLICABLE TO VIDALIA ONIONS
The following regulations shall apply to all persons involved in the production, packaging, processing, holding, storing, distribution and sales of Vidalia onions.
|(1)|| The following
words or terms shall have the meaning set forth herein when used in these rules
|(1)||Each person who desires to produce and/or package onions as Vidalia onions must register with the Commissioner on or before March 1 of each year. Failure to register by March 1 may result in a monetary penalty of up to $1,000.00. No applications for registration will be accepted after the 15th day of April. Registration applications are to be filled out completely and accurately. If acreage planted should change, or any other information such as name, address, label information or packer from that indicated on the report filed by March 1, then a supplemental report shall be submitted no later than April 15. Additionally, each person who desires to produce green onions and utilize the name Vidalia in connection with the sale, advertising, distribution, or marketing of such onions, must register on or before October 1 of each year.|
|(2)||Registration applications shall be completed and submitted online through the Department's Licensing Division at http://agr.georgia.gov.|
|(3)||The Commissioner may deny or revoke registration of any person for failure to register by deadline, violating any of these regulations, or for any intentional misrepresentation of a material fact in the registration application.|
|(4)||Registration is not transferable.|
|(5)||No person shall pack Vidalia onions unless said person and the grower of such onions are both properly registered.|
|(6)||Any person who will have or may have other yellow onions and Vidalia Onions in the same facility during a Transition Period shall acknowledge the same in the application for Registration.|
|(a)||Upon recommendation of the Director of the Experiment Stations of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences of the University of Georgia, the Commissioner will authorize onion varieties to be included as a "Vidalia onion variety" as defined in Rule 40-7-8-.02(g) and to be planted and marketed as Vidalia onions or Vidalia green onions. The authorized onion varieties will be listed and published online at http://agr.georgia.gov, as well as on the Vidalia grower/packer application, and will be updated as necessary.|
|(b)||Any and all onion varieties not included on the published list referenced in paragraph (a) above are specifically limited and excluded from being planted and marketed as Vidalia onions or Vidalia green onions.|
|(c)||No onion variety shall be listed as an authorized variety until it shall have completed three years of testing by the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences of the University of Georgia to evaluate shape, color, pungency, sugars, and other factors characteristic of Vidalia onions and is recommended for inclusion as a Vidalia onion by the Director of the Experiment Stations of said College.|
|(d)|| In addition to the criteria established
by the Director of the Experiment Stations of the College of Agricultural and
Environmental Sciences of the University of Georgia for making his/her
recommendation, the following guidelines will be considered by, but not limit,
the Commissioner in reviewing the recommendations of the Director for the
authorization of additional varieties or limitation of existing varieties:
All persons and entities selling onion seed to anyone in the Vidalia Onion Production Area shall provide a complete list of those customers to the Department no later than January 1 of each year. Required information shall include, but not be limited to, name and complete address of customer, date seed sold, variety sold and amount sold. Any such information deemed confidential shall be subject to the requirements of Paragraph 40-7-8-.18 of these rules.
|(1)||Any person, entity, or business organization desiring to (a) grow; (b) pack; (c) process; (d) market; (e) sell onions as Vidalia® onions or Vidalia® green onions; and/or (f) use the "Vidalia®" Mark on products containing Vidalia® onions or Vidalia® green onions, must enter into an agreement with the Georgia Department of Agriculture for the use of the registered U. S. Certification Mark "Vidalia®".|
|(2)||The Commissioner shall establish the terms and conditions of the agreement annually.|
|(3)||The royalty/license fees shall be paid to and collected by the Georgia Department of Agriculture for all processed Vidalia® onions and for all products that use and incorporate Vidalia® onions in any form and shall be $0.005 for six ounces, or portion or product thereof. The royalty/license fee may be adjusted by the Commissioner upon renewal of the agreement but in no circumstance be greater that $0.005 for six ounces, or portion or product thereof. The only exceptions is in the case of frozen products or meat products that use and incorporate Vidalia® onions in any form shall be $0.001 for six ounces, or portion thereof.|
|(4)|| To calculate the royalty/license fees,
the processors report to the Department the total amount of product in pounds,
the poundage is then converted into weighted ounces, divide by six, and
calculate the fee based on $0.005 for every six ounces.
|(5)||The agreement with the Georgia Department of Agriculture must be renewed annually. The term of the agreement shall be from the date of execution through the last day of February of the next year in all cases except those for processed onions or products containing Vidalia® onions, and through the last day of the next June in the case of processed onions or products containing Vidalia® onions.|
|(1)||The term "Vidalia" may not be used in the advertising or labeling of onions or green onions sold or delivered, held, stored, or offered for sale, unless such onions are of the variety defined in paragraph (g) of Section 40-7-8-.02 of these rules, were grown in the Vidalia onion production area, and meet the other requirements of these Rules.|
All packaged Vidalia onions must be labeled to show:
|(3)|| All green Vidalia onions must be labeled
The standards and grades as adopted by the U. S. Department of Agriculture, U. S. Standards for Grades of Bermuda-Granex-Grano type onions, effective January 1, 1960, amended October 10, 1995 (7 CFR 51.395- 51.3209), and U. S. Standards for Grades of Common Green Onions, effective June 20, 1947, reprinted January, 1997, and future supplements and amendments thereto, are adopted as the Standards and Grades for Vidalia onions and Vidalia green onions, except as otherwise provided in these rules.
|(1)|| All Vidalia onions must be graded and
packed in the Vidalia onion production area. No bulk shipments of Vidalia
onions to destinations outside the Vidalia onion production area for packing or
storage will be allowed, except as otherwise provided in these rules. Nothing
contained in this definition shall authorize the repacking of Vidalia onions
except as specifically authorized under Paragraph
40-7-8-.08(1)(f)2 of these rules.
All onions sold as Vidalia onions or Vidalia green onions must be accompanied by an invoice, bill of lading, bill of sale or other documentation issued by the seller, to show the producer of the onions by name and address, or the person making the sale if other than the producer, name and address of person or persons to whom sold and shipped, the quantity and grade, if applicable. Copies of invoices, bills of lading, bills of sale or other documentation, shall be required to be furnished to the Department upon request, provided that nothing herein shall be construed to require the maintaining of records of a retail sale to an ultimate consumer. Copies of invoices, bills of lading, bills of sale or other documentation, shall be maintained by the seller at the place of business of the firm for a minimum of four years after the issuance date.
The Commissioner or his duly authorized agent shall have free access at all reasonable hours to any production area, or any packaging, processing, and storage facilities where onions are being held for introduction into commerce, and any vehicle being used to transport or hold such onions for the purpose of:
|(a)||Inspecting such area, facility or vehicle to determine if any of the provisions of these regulations and the Georgia Food Act are being violated;|
|(b)||Examining business records and invoices to determine the origin of any onions; and|
|(c)||Securing samples of onions, onion packaging or containers, labels, tags, seals, stamps, or other identification devices.|
All persons producing, packaging, processing, distributing or selling onions as Vidalia onions or Vidalia green onions must retain for a period of four years those records which indicate the origin of any onions produced, packaged, processed, distributed or sold by them.
The following acts and the causing thereof within this State are prohibited:
|(a)||The selling or offering for sale of any onions as Vidalia onions or Vidalia green onions unless such onions are the type defined in paragraph (g) of Section 40-7-8-.02 of these rules, and were grown in the Vidalia onion production area as defined in paragraph (i) of Section 40-7-8-.02 of these rules.|
|(b)||The packaging or labeling of any onions as Vidalia onions or Vidalia green onions for sale, or the use of the term "Vidalia" in connection with the labeling or packaging of onions for sale, unless such onions are of the type defined in paragraph (g) of Section 40-7-8-.02 of these rules, meet all standards for grades of Vidalia onions as required in Section 40-7-8-.06 and paragraph (a) of Section 40-7-8-.08(1) of these rules, were grown in the Vidalia onion production area as defined in paragraph (i) of Section 4-7-8-.02 of these rules, and unless a current Certification Mark Agreement has been entered into as provided by Section 40-7-8-.04 of these rules.|
|(c)||The selling, holding, offering for sale, packaging or labeling of onions as Vidalia onions or Vidalia green onions in violation of the Georgia Food Act.|
|(d)||The production and/or packaging of onions as Vidalia onions or Vidalia green onions unless the producer and/or packer is properly registered, as provided by Section 40-7-8-.03 of these rules.|
|(e)||The handling or shipping of Vidalia onions in bulk outside the production area, or Vidalia onions which have not been graded and packed, as provided by these rules, except for charity, relief, processing or experimental shipments, as provided for in paragraph (d) of Section 40-7-8-.08(1) of these rules.|
|(f)||The repacking of Vidalia onions except as specifically authorized under Paragraph 40-7-8-.08(1)(f)2. of these rules.|
|(g)||The violation of any provision of Paragraph 40-7-8-.08(1)(g)1. of these rules related to Facility Packing Requirements.|
|(h)||The failure to provide information as required in paragraph 40-7-8-.032 of these rules related to documentation of sales by persons and entities to Vidalia onion growers. Any such information deemed confidential shall be subject to the requirements of Paragraph 40-7-8-.18 of these rules.|
Upon the application of any person showing:
|(a)||That he has produced and sold or marketed onions as Vidalia onions in this State within three years prior to the effective date of these regulations; and|
|(b)||That continued production and sales or marketing of such onions by the applicant would be authorized under these rules but for the fact that the onions would be grown outside the Vidalia onion production area, the Commissioner may grant a variance to such person authorizing him to continue to produce, package, store and sell or market such onions in the production area specified in the application. Any such action by the Commissioner shall authorize a variance only as to the production area, and the person receiving the variance shall be subject to all other requirements contained in these rules. A variance may not be transferred. The Commissioner, under the conditions he prescribes, may require the submission of such information or documentation as he deems necessary in connection with the issuance of such variances. All applications for variances shall be on forms developed by the Commissioner. An application for a variance must be filed with the Commissioner by December 31, 1987, in order to be eligible for consideration. Variance Application Forms may be obtained from the Georgia Department of Agriculture, Markets Division, Capitol Square, Atlanta, Georgia 30334.|
Any person involved in the production, packaging, holding, storage, distribution and sales of Vidalia onions who desires to store by such means Vidalia onions for the purpose of introduction into commerce following September 15th of the year in which the onions were produced, must notify the Department to provide inspection and certification of the storage facilities and the onions to be stored prior to storage. The Department will place seals on the facility. The Department must be notified if the seals are broken for any reason. The storer must notify the Department to request inspection and certification prior to removal from storage. The storer must maintain records for each storage cycle for a period of two (2) years. The records must contain, but not be limited to, the following:
|(a)||Name of storer;|
|(b)||Producer name and address if other than storer;|
|(c)||Location of storage facility;|
|(d)||Diagram of facility relating to controlled atmosphere storage units;|
|(e)||Date of inspection by Department prior to storage;|
|(f)||Date onions enter storage;|
|(g)||Volume of onions stored by weight, bushel count or bin count;|
|(h)||Date onions to be removed;|
|(i)||Date of inspection by Department prior to removal from storage;|
|(j)||Volume of onions removed from storage by weight or bushel count;|
|(k)||Copies of invoices from sale of stored onions;|
|(l)||Seal numbers used to seal storage facility.|
Container manufacturers will be required to maintain for a period of four years, records indicating the quantity of Vidalia onion containers produced and persons to whom sold or shipped. Each person who produces or packages onions as Vidalia onions, must maintain records for a period of four years indicating the number of Vidalia onion containers purchased, and disposition or use of those containers. A manufacturer of containers shall not sell containers imprinted with the name and address of a producer or packer to anyone other than that producer or packer. A manufacturer shall not sell stock containers (containers imprinted with the term"Vidalia" and bearing no producer or packer name) to anyone other than a currently registered Vidalia onion producer or packer.
The Commissioner shall appoint a Vidalia Onion Advisory Panel, to consist of individuals involved in growing, packing, or growing and packing Vidalia onions; at least one county cooperative extension agent from the Vidalia onion production area; and any other person or persons selected by the Commissioner, for the purpose of rendering advice upon his or her request regarding the exercise of his or her authority pursuant to Code Sections 2-14-136 and 2-14-137, as well as for the purpose of recommending the commencement date for Transition 2 each year. Members of the advisory panel shall receive no compensation for their service as such members.
The Commissioner is authorized to determine and announce a packing date each year for the Vidalia Onion® marketing season which shall commence no sooner than 12:01 AM on the Monday of the last full week of April, each year. Vidalia Onions® shall not be packed or put into commerce, at any time prior to the announced packing date. Once the packing date is established, Vidalia Onions may be packed in containers and shipped from that day forward. The Commissioner may, depending on crop conditions and with the recommendation of the Vidalia Onion® Advisory Panel, specify a packing date other than the Monday of the last full week in April. Drying and other forms of onion preparation may take place prior to the packing date.
|(1)||Any data, records, reports, or information obtained from any person or business entity by the Commissioner and staff under these rules shall be reasonably available to any member of the public for inspection and copying at the expense of the person or business entity requesting copies.|
|(2)||Upon proper demonstration by any person or business entity affirmatively showing, establishing, and declaring to the Commissioner that any records, reports, or information, or any particular part thereof, to which the Commissioner has access under these rules, would, if made public, divulge information entitled to protection or confidentiality under the law, the Commissioner shall consider such information or any particular portion thereof confidential in accordance with the purposes of the law under which confidentiality, trade secret, or protection has been claimed and established conclusively that the records, reports or information are entitled to this protection.|
|(3)||This rule shall apply to any data, records, reports, or information which has been established and declared by the person or business entity to be confidential, trade secrets, or of a privileged or confidential nature, and required by law to be submitted to Department of Agriculture where such data, records, or information has not been publicly released, published, copyrighted, or patented.|
|(4)||Any claim of confidentiality filed pursuant to this rule must be established and declared at the time of the initial submission of the data, records, reports or information, or the claim of confidentiality is deemed waived.|
|(5)||To establish and declare confidentiality the person or business entity must file the claim of confidentiality which must include the legal basis which establishes by a preponderance of evidence that the data, records, reports, or information is confidential and should be protected.|
|(6)||At the time of submission of the claim of confidentiality the person or business entity must submit a copy of the data, records, reports, or information which has redacted the confidential data, records, reports, or information for the public file.|
Any person who violates these Rules and Regulations shall be subject to penalty as set forth in O.C.G.A. § 2-2-.9.1 and O.C.G.A. § 2-14-135.