The MDA Fruit and Vegetable unit provides USDA grade and/or condition inspections of all fresh produce as well as Good Agricultural and Good Handling Practices (GAP/GHP) audits upon request. Inspections and audits are performed by USDA licensed and certified MDA employees.

Market Inspections

The Market inspection program inspects fruits, vegetables, raw nuts, and ornamental crops based on USDA established standards for commodities, and certifies the various grades for each. Inspections verify that the commodities meet the specifications and or grades that have been agreed on  by shipper and receiver.

Providing unbiased third party inspections results in protection for both grower and receiver, and lower costs to the public. The Fruit and Vegetable Inspection staff is federally licensed by the USDA and have the authority to inspect all commodities from around the world.

Inspections include:

  • Defect types
  • Severity of defects,
  • Percentage of defects
  • US Grade

Application for inspections must be requested within 24 hours of receiving the product. Generally all applications for inspection will be performed within eight business hours of your request.

Processed Inspections

Fruit and vegetable program staff provide daily inspection service of all incoming raw potatoes and sweet potatoes at local processing facilities. A certificate is issued stating the percentage of US No 1 and US No 2 quality as well as quantifying sizing distribution and identifying defects. These percentages are the basis of grower compensation for their product.

Shipping Point Inspection

Inspections are provide growers with mandatory potato inspection and certification for destinations within Canada. In addition, service is provided for seed potato growers requiring inspections for destinations outside Minnesota. Shipping point inspections are conducted at the source while the product is being packed prior to shipment and determine if grade is being met.

What to expect during an inspection?

Inspectors take notes of type of load, location of load in facility, and any loading statements if needed. Temperature of product is taken in various locations throughout the load and recorded on note sheets. After a representative product sampling from the load is taken defects are identified and their severity is determined. Individual findings of samples are noted and final percentages of defects are determined. Percentages are then and used against an established US Grade Standard to determine if that grade has been met. All information in the inspection is recorded on note sheets and reported on USDA certificates.

Who may request inspection services?

Any financially interested party may request an inspection for proper grading and certification of their product.

Good Agriculture Practices/Good Handling Practices (GAP/GHP) Food Safety Audits

The USDA Good Agricultural Practices / Good Handling Practices Audit Program was established to provide unbiased third party audits of agricultural and handling practices of fresh fruits and vegetables. These audits help the fruit and vegetable grower or handler to reduce produce contamination. Many retailers and processors require that any supplier of fresh fruits and vegetables pass a third party food safety audit.

Fruit and Vegetable Inspection program staff is licensed by the USDA to provide these audits for any growers, shippers, receivers, and packers in Minnesota. The audit consists of all or any combination of the following:

  • General Questions (Passing of this section is mandatory)
  • Part 1. Farm Review
  • Part 2. Field Harvest and Packing Activities
  • Part 3. House Packing Facility
  • Part 4. Storage and Transportation
  • Part 5. Food Defense

Applicants can be audited for all or just individual parts that pertain to their operation. A passing score of 80 percent is required on each part. A list of applicants that pass will be  posted annually on the USDA's website.

Any grower, packer, transporter, receiver, repacker, or any other handler of fresh fruits and vegetables can request to be audited for the USDA GAP/GHP Audit Program.

For more information, questions, or to schedule an audit please contact: 651-201-6067