(a) Records to be kept. Section 401 of the Packers and Stockyards Act (7 U.S.C. 221) provides, in part, that every packer, live poultry dealer, stockyard owner, market agency, and dealer shall keep such accounts, records, and memoranda as fully and correctly disclose all transactions involved in his business, including the true ownership of such business by stockholding or otherwise. In order to properly administer the P&S Act, it is necessary that records be retained for such periods of time as may be required to permit the Packers and Stockyards Division (PSD) a reasonable opportunity to examine such records. Section 401 of the Act does not, however, provide for the destruction or disposal of records. Therefore, the Department has formulated this policy statement to provide guidance as to the periods of time after which records may be disposed of or destroyed.
(b) Records may be disposed of after two years except as otherwise provided. Except as provided in paragraph (c) of this section, each packer, live poultry dealer, stockyard owner, market agency, and dealer may destroy or dispose of accounts, records, and memoranda which contain, explain, or modify transactions in its business subject to the Act after such accounts, records, and memoranda have been retained for a period of two full years; Provided, That the following records made or kept by a packer may be disposed of after one year: cutting tests; departmental transfers; buyers' estimates; drive sheets; scale tickets received from others; inventory and products in storage; receiving records; trial balances; departmental overhead or expense recapitulations; bank statements, reconciliations and deposit slips; production or sale tonnage reports (including recapitulations and summaries of routes, branches, plants, etc.); buying or selling pricing instructions and price lists; correspondence; telegrams; teletype communications and memoranda relating to matters other than contracts, agreements, purchase or sales invoices, or claims or credit memoranda; and Provided further, That microfilm copies of records may be substituted for and retained in lieu of the actual records.
(c) Retention for longer periods may be required. The periods specified in paragraph (b) of this section shall be extended if the packer, live poultry dealer, stockyard owner, market agency, or dealer is notified in writing by the Administrator that specified records should be retained for a longer period pending the completion of any investigation or proceedings under the Act.
(d) Unauthorized disposal of records. If it is found that any person subject to the Act has disposed of accounts, records, and memoranda which are necessary to fully and correctly disclose all transactions in its business prior to the periods specified in this statement, consideration will be given to the issuance of a complaint charging a violation of section 401 of the Act and seeking an appropriate order. The administrative proceeding initiated will be conducted in accordance with the Rules of Practice Governing Formal Adjudicatory Proceedings Instituted by the Secretary (7 CFR 1.130 et seq.).
(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control number 0580-0015)
[49 FR 6085, Feb. 17, 1984, as amended at 54 FR 16357, Apr. 24, 1989; 68 FR 75388, Dec. 31, 2003; 84 FR 45648, Aug. 30, 2019]