7 CFR 46.49 - Written notifications and complaints.
(a) Written notification, as used in section 6(b) of the Act, means:
(1) Any written statement reporting or complaining of a PACA violation(s) filed by any officer or agency of any State or Territory having jurisdiction over licensees or persons subject to license, or any other interested person who has knowledge of or information regarding a possible violation, other than an employee of an agency of USDA administering this Act or a person filing a complaint under section 6(c);
(2) Any written notice of intent to preserve the benefits of the trust established under section 5 of this Act; or
(3) Any official certificate(s) of the United States Government or States or Territories of the United States.
(b) Any written notification may be filed by delivering it to any office of USDA or any official thereof responsible for administering the Act. A written notification which is so filed, or any expansion of an investigation resulting from any indication of additional further violations of the Act found as a consequence of an investigation based on written notification or complaint, shall also be deemed to constitute a complaint under section 13(a) of this Act.
(c) Upon becoming aware of a complaint under section 6(a) or 6(b) of this Act, the Secretary will determine if reasonable grounds exist for an investigation of such complaint for disciplinary action. If the investigation substantiates the existence of violations, a formal disciplinary complaint may be filed by the Secretary as described under section 6(c)(2) of the Act.
(d) Whenever an investigation, initiated as a result of a written notification or complaint under section 6(b) of the Act, is commenced, or expanded to include new violations, notice shall be given by the Secretary to the subject of the investigation within thirty (30) days of the commencement or expansion of the investigation. Within one hundred and eighty (180) days after giving initial notice, the Secretary shall provide the subject of the investigation with notice of the status of the investigation, including whether the Secretary intends to issue a complaint under section 6(c)(2) of this Act, terminate the investigation, or continue or expand the investigation. Thereafter, the subject of the investigation may request in writing, no more frequently than every ninety (90) days, a status report from the Chief of the PACA Branch who shall respond thereto within fourteen (14) days of receiving the request. When an investigation is terminated, the Secretary shall, within fourteen (14) days, notify the subject of the investigation of the termination. In every case in which notice or response is required under this subsection such notice or response shall be accomplished by personal service or by posting the notice or response by certified mail to the last known address of the subject of the investigation.