Administrative Fine Policy Summary

Background

The administrative fine is provided in the Grade A Milk Law of 2001 MCL 288.523(1) and (7) and the Manufacturing Milk Law of 2001 MCL 288.685 (1) and (7).  As described in the laws, the administrative fine may be levied when a person is found to have violated a provision of the act or rule promulgated under the act.  The fine may not exceed $1,000 per violation and may additionally include the actual cost of the investigation of the violation.

Assessing an Administrative Fine

The following are some examples of situations where an administrative fine may be levied:

  • In addition to a permit suspension.  For example, if a permit is suspended for violations such as illegal somatic cell counts, bacteria counts, filthy milking equipment or filthy farm conditions, a fine may be assessed in addition to the permit suspension.
  • If the same item(s) are debited on a second reinspection.  For example, if a plant is put on reinspection because the floor needs repair and the roof is leaking, when these items are not corrected by the second reinspection, a fine may be assessed.
  • When an inspection item has been debited four times over a two-year period or less.  For example, if a farm is marked for milkhouse cleanliness on four inspections over a 22-month period, a fine may be assessed.
  • Other serious violations.  For example, if a milk hauler picks up milk from unapproved containers such as garbage cans.

Official inspections or reinspections are the inspections or reinspections conducted by an employee of the State of Michigan, or by an industry fieldperson licensed and certified by the State of Michigan to conduct official inspections.  A fieldperson's inspection or reinspection are only used when that fieldperson is authorized to act on behalf of the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development.

An administrative fine may be issued in addition to a permit suspension, Compliance Review Meeting or Administrative Hearing.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development reserves the right to charge the maximum administrative fine amount of $1,000 for the most serious violations.

Administrative fines for drug residue violations will be charged under MCL 288.523(1) not 288.523(7) of the Grade A Milk Law of 2001 or MCL 288.685(1) not 288.685(7) of the Manufacturing Milk Law of 2001.

In all cases, any fines assessed will be subject to supervisory review by the regional MDARD supervisor and/or the MDARD program manager to determine consistency with this policy.

Compliance Review Meeting

A Compliance Review Meeting is a meeting between a licensee or a designated representative, and Food and Dairy Division representatives.  The purpose of the meeting is to clarify expectations for food protection and sanitation, and the consequences of failure to maintain department standards.  The meeting offers an opportunity for the firm to demonstrate their plan for addressing food safety issues.  The meeting may result in an agreement for compliance.

Notification and Appeal of an Administrative Fine

When an administrative fine is assessed, notification will be sent by certified mail from the MDARD Lansing office.  The notification will state the observed violation, the appropriate law citation, and the process for appeal.

Failure to pay an administrative fine may result in license revocation, permit suspension or other follow-up action after notice and the opportunity for appeal.  If warranted, follow-up steps for failure to pay a fine will be initiated by the MDARD Lansing office.

Other Considerations

It is always the goal to achieve compliance.  Thus, correction of the violation is a separate issue from the administrative fine.  Payment of the administrative fine penalty does not eliminate the requirement for correcting the violation or the need for the MDARD dairy inspector to follow up to verify the correction.

For more information, please contact Terry Philibeck or Carrie Fata-Rue at 1-800-292-3939, or e-mail at MDA_FoodDairyInfo@michigan.gov