The Federal Grain Inspection Service's (FGIS) quality control program involves correlating front-line inspectors to our standard references located at the FGIS Technology and Science Division's Board Of Appeals and Review (BAR) in Kansas City, Missouri.
A network of field offices perform training and supervision of front line inspectors in their area to ensure all types of inspection results correlate with the BAR's standard reference. For example, interpretative line slides approved by the BAR are used by all inspectors to ensure that they are interpreting visual characteristics found in a sample in the same way.
FGIS is upgrading its ability to analyze quality control data to ensure consistent results nationwide by providing each field office state-of-the-art computers and a specially designed software program. Field offices will be able to modify the program to meet the needs of the local marketplace, and analyze data in various ways to ensure accurate inspections are being performed.
The United States Grain Standards Act states in part that: "The Administrator shall provide for the testing of all equipment used in the sampling, grading, inspection and weighing for the purpose of official inspection, official weighing, or supervision of weighing of grain...to be made on a random and periodic basis, but at least annually...as he deems necessary to assure the accuracy and integrity of such equipment."
Since the late 1930's, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has provided for a
"check test" program whereby on-line grain inspection equipment would be periodically tested for the purpose of detecting differences in equipment performance when compared to the performance of designated "Standard" inspection equipment. It has long been acknowledged that dependable precision equipment is necessary for accurate grain and commodity inspection. Incorrect grading factor determinations can result from poorly designed equipment, or equipment that has become excessively worn, or is misadjusted. GIPSA has also begun developing online tutorials to assist official inspection personnel and the industry in the maintenance of inspection equipment. The following tutorials are currently available:
The Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS) uses a system of internal management controls over its FGIS field-based operations, including Federal offices, State agencies, and private agencies (quality management program review). It also occasionally evaluates nationwide or specific headquarters programs (management evaluations). These management controls are established through independent third-party reviews. The quality management program review and management evaluations are conducted by the Quality Assurance and Compliance Division, Quality Assurance and Designation Branch, and include:
quality management program review of FGIS field office circuits to evaluate the performance of the FGIS field offices providing services under the U.S. Grain Standards Act (USGSA) and Agricultural Marketing Act (AMA) to determine whether the field office is correctly and uniformly carrying out FGIS programs and efficiently managing its resources;
quality management program review of the delegated / designated States which provide official services under the USGSA/AMA, and private agencies which provide them under the USGSA to determine whether they are correctly and uniformly carrying out official procedures, and meeting the criteria for designation; and
management evaluations of specific areas of program operations for which FGIS is responsible. Past management evaluations have included programs such as miscellaneous processed commodities, protein, rice, the operations of the Board of Appeals and Review, and the Commodity Testing Laboratory.
Reports of review findings are reviewed by GIPSA and follow-up activities are taken by field offices or official agencies until noncompliances have been satisfactorily resolved.
GIPSA also conducts assistance trips to field offices to provide onsite help in strengthening specific program areas, as requested by the various offices.