Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 3.2. Agriculture, Animal Care, and Food
Chapter 43. Grades, Marks, and Brands
6/19/2021

Article 1. General Provisions.

§ 3.2-4300. Definition.

As used in this article, unless the context requires a different meaning, "agricultural product" means any horticultural, viticulture, dairy, livestock, poultry, bee, or other farm or garden product.

Code 1950, § 3-258; 1966, c. 702, § 3.1-337; 2008, c. 860; 2020, c. 317.

§ 3.2-4301. Unmarked products.

This article shall not apply to any agricultural product or products not marked or designated by or with any trademark, brand or other markings indicating grade, classification, quality, condition, or size.

Code 1950, § 3-266; 1966, c. 702, § 3.1-345; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-4302. Establishment of grades, marks, and brands.

The Commissioner may adopt regulations governing the voluntary use of grades, trademarks, brands, and other markings for agricultural products produced, packed, or marked in the Commonwealth. The regulations shall prescribe the: (i) grade, classification, quality, condition, size, variety, quantity, or other characteristics of such products; and (ii) marks identifying the party responsible for the grading and marking of such products.

Code 1950, § 3-259; 1966, c. 702, § 3.1-338; 2008, c. 860; 2020, c. 317.

§ 3.2-4303. Grades recommended by U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The Commissioner, in carrying out the provisions of § 3.2-4302, shall adopt grades recommended or adopted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture if they are suitable for use in Virginia. If there is a demand for additional or different grades or standards by those persons in the Commonwealth producing and handling such products, the Commissioner may establish and adopt grades or standards that are additional to or different from those recommended or adopted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Code 1950, § 3-260; 1966, c. 702, § 3.1-339; 2008, c. 860; 2020, c. 317.

§ 3.2-4304. When special grades, marks, and brands allowed; filing a certificate.

Any person desiring to pack, mark, sell, or offer for sale any agricultural product under any grade, trademark, brand, or other markings relating to grade, quality or size, not established and adopted by the Commissioner, may file with the Commissioner a certificate describing the special grade, trademark, brand, or other markings. If the Commissioner: (i) approves of the completeness of definitions of such special grade, trademark, brand, or other markings described in the certificate; (ii) finds that such grade terminology, trademark, brand, other markings, or definitions are in no way deceptive; and (iii) determines that definitions used to describe grade, classifications, quality, condition, size, variety, or other characteristics of agricultural products clearly document where they differ from the official grades, the special grade, trademark, brand, or other markings may thereafter be used by the person filing the certificate. For the purpose of this section a brand, trademark, or other markings may represent a grade.

Code 1950, § 3-261; 1966, c. 702, § 3.1-340; 2008, c. 860; 2020, c. 317.

§ 3.2-4305. Unclassified products.

This article shall not prevent the use of any trademark or brand not established and adopted, or not approved by the Commissioner, on or in connection with any agricultural product, if, as a part of such trademark or brand, or immediately adjacent thereto, there is printed in letters not less than one-half inch in height the word "unclassified."

Code 1950, § 3-265; 1966, c. 702, § 3.1-344; 2008, c. 860; 2020, c. 317.

§ 3.2-4306. Enforcement powers of Commissioner.

The Commissioner shall enforce the provisions of this article and is empowered to:

1. Enter and inspect every place where agricultural products are produced, packed, stored for sale, shipped, delivered for shipment, in transit or offered for sale; and to inspect such places and any or all agricultural products, containing markings of any kind that indicate grade, classification, quality, condition, size, variety and quantity, and containers or equipment found at or in such places. It is unlawful for anyone to prevent, hinder or interfere with the Commissioner or his agent in the exercise of any power under this subdivision;

2. To approve, superintend, control and discharge such inspectors, subordinate inspectors and agents as in his discretion may be deemed necessary for the purpose of enforcing the provisions of this article; and to prescribe their duties and fix their compensation;

3. Prohibit the movement of any agricultural product found to be marked in violation of any of the provisions of this article, prior to the product being accepted by a common carrier for shipment in interstate transit. Such product shall be repacked or remarked. A lot of any agricultural product shall not be considered accepted by a common carrier until the common carrier is loaded, sealed, and the bill of lading issued; and

4. Cause to be instituted through the attorney for the Commonwealth prosecutions for violations of this article.

Code 1950, § 3-262; 1966, c. 702, § 3.1-341; 2008, c. 860; 2020, c. 317.

§ 3.2-4307. When products considered as offered for sale.

When any agricultural product is in transit, delivered to a common carrier for shipment, or delivered for storage, such transit or delivery shall be prima facie evidence that the product is offered for sale.

Code 1950, § 3-263; 1966, c. 702, § 3.1-342; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-4308. Grades and brands shall be used in accordance with regulations.

It is unlawful to use:

1. Any grade, trademark, brand, or other markings established and adopted by the Commissioner on or in connection with marking any agricultural product that is not in accordance with regulations established and adopted by the Commissioner.

2. Any grade, trademark, brand, or other markings indicating grade, classification, quality, condition or size, for any agricultural product for which official grades, trademarks, brands, or other markings have not been established and adopted by the Commissioner or are not in accordance with the provisions of § 3.2-4304.

Code 1950, § 3-264; 1966, c. 702, § 3.1-343; 2008, c. 860; 2020, c. 317.

§ 3.2-4309. Unlawful removal of markings.

It is unlawful, except with the consent of the original packer, or in compliance with the regulations, for any person to remove from any agricultural product any markings that meet the requirements of this article relating to grade, classification, quality, condition, size, variety, quantity and other characteristics, or identify the party responsible for the packing or marking.

Code 1950, § 3-267; 1966, c. 702, § 3.1-346; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-4310. Penalty for violation.

Any person who violates any of the provisions of this article is guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor.

Code 1950, § 3-268; 1966, c. 702, § 3.1-347; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-4311. Defenses to prosecution.

No person shall be convicted under the provisions of this article if:

1. The person is not a party to the packing, grading, or marking of such product; or

2. The agricultural product has passed inspection by an authorized inspector in the voluntary inspection service of the Department, or the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and found to be marked in accordance with the requirements of this article.

Code 1950, § 3-269; 1966, c. 702, § 3.1-348; 2008, c. 860.