Reporting Violations

Any person can report to AMS violations or suspected violations and abuses in the grain, livestock, meat, and poultry industries.

Grain, Rice, & Pulses
Quality Assurance and Compliance Division
STOP 3614
1400 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-3614
800-998-3447 (toll-free) FAX: 202-720-7786

Livestock, Meat, & Poultry
STOP 3601
1400 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-3601
1-833-DIAL-PSD 1-833-342-5773(toll-free)
FAX: 202-205-9237

Reporting Violations of the USGSA or AMA

The United States Grain Standards Act and the Agricultural Marketing Act regulations require that official personnel promptly report any violations of existing statutes, policies, procedures or instructions. They shall report incidences that include:

  • (a) program activities (e.g., grain sampling, grading, weighing, etc.);
  • (b) bribes (i.e., offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting of anything of value);
  • (c) assaults (e.g., verbal or physical attacks, etc.) and
  • (d) misconduct (i.e., create the appearance of a loss of impartiality, etc.).

For additional information see: FGIS Directive 9070.6 Reporting Violations of the U.S. Grain Standards Act and the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 (PDF; 36Kb)

Reporting Violations of the P&S Act

As stated by Congress, the purpose of the Packers and Stockyards Act (P&S Act) is "to assure fair competition and fair trade practices, to safeguard farmers and protect consumers...and to protect members of the livestock, meat, and poultry industries from unfair, deceptive, unjustly discriminatory and monopolistic practices...."

Accordingly, AMS encourages farmers, ranchers and other producers, consumers, and members of the livestock, meat, and poultry industries to report incidents of a) slow, insufficient, or non-payment for livestock, meat, or poultry, b) potential antitrust practices, or c) unfair, deceptive, and fraudulent practices by entities subject to the P&S Act. See the P&S Act publication (PDF; 185Kb) on this website for a more complete description of the practices subject to AMS's enforcement.

Meat Packers – Sales and Purchase Contract Complaints

From time to time AMS's Packers and Stockyards Division (PSD) receives complaints concerning the failure or refusal of buyers to pay the full purchase price for, or to accept delivery of, their purchases of meat and meat food products and sellers failing to meet contractual specifications. Most such complaints arise out of disputes concerning condition, grade, weight, or shipping instructions.

P&SP believes that both seller and buyer should take the following points into consideration when selling and buying meat and meat food products:

  • (1) Terms of shipment and time of arrival. Terms and conditions of shipment and delivery should be specified in the contract and both parties should understand fully all terms and conditions of the contract. Any deviation from normal practices, such as a guaranty by the shipper as to the date of arrival at destination, or a deviation from the normal meaning of terms, should also be fully understood and made a part of the contract.
  • (2) Quality and condition.
    • (i) A seller has the responsibility of making certain that the meat and meat food products shipped are in accordance with the terms of the contract specifications.
    • (ii) When a buyer believes that the shipment does not meet the terms of the contract, the buyer should immediately contact the seller or the seller's agent and advise the seller of the nature of the complaint. This affords the seller an opportunity to renegotiate the contract, to personally inspect the meat or meat food products, or to have an impartial party inspect or examine the meat or meat food products. Inspection and examination service of this type is available nationally through the USDA meat grading service and locally through various impartial persons or agencies.
    • (iii) All terms of a transaction should be made clear in the contract, whether written or verbal. If there is any chance of misunderstanding, a written confirmation should be exchanged between the parties. In any case where a contract dispute cannot be settled between the parties and either party intends to file a complaint, such complaint should be brought to the attention of the nearest P&SP regional office as soon as possible. However, a concerted effort on the part of both buyer and seller to negotiate clear and complete contracts will greatly reduce misunderstandings which can result in the filing of complaints with the Administration.

    If PSD has reason to believe that any packer unjustifiably (1) has refused to pay the contractual price for meat or meat food products purchased, (2) has refused to accept a shipment of meat or meat food products, or (3) has failed to ship meat or meat food products in accordance with the terms of the contract specifications, consideration will be given to the issuance of a complaint charging the packer with violation of section 202 of the Act. In the formal administrative proceeding initiated by any such complaint, the Judicial Officer of the Department will determine, upon the basis of the record in the proceeding, whether the packer has violated the Act and should be ordered to cease and desist from continuing such violation.