Appellee company grows cantaloupes of superior quality in
Parker, Arizona. Since the company lacks packing sheds in Parker,
it transports the cantaloupes to its nearby facilities in
California, where they are sorted, inspected, packed, and shipped
in containers that bear the name of the California packer.
Appellant official, acting under the Arizona Fruit and Vegetable
Standardization Act, which is designed to prevent deceptive
packaging, entered an order prohibiting the company from shipping
its cantaloupes outside the State unless they were packed in
containers in a manner approved by appellant. Appellant contends
that his order is necessary to ensure that the cantaloupes be
identified as of Arizona origin. Appellee brought this suit for
injunctive relief challenging the constitutionality of the order,
which would have the effect of requiring appellee to build packing
facilities in or near Parker at a cost of about $200,000. A
three-judge District Court issued an injunction holding that the
order constituted an unlawful burden on interstate commerce.
1. Appellant's order burdens interstate commerce, since the
cantaloupes were destined to be shipped from Arizona to an
ascertainable location in California immediately after harvest, and
application of the challenged statute would require an operation
now conducted outside the State to be performed within the State so
it can be regulated there. Pp. 397 U. S.
2. The burden on interstate commerce imposed by appellant's
order is unconstitutional, since Arizona's minimal interest in
identifying the origin of appellee's cantaloupes to enhance the
reputation of Arizona producers cannot justify subjecting appellee
to the substantial capital expenditure of building and operating in
Arizona a packing plant that it does not need. Pp. 397 U. S.
Page 397 U. S. 138
MR. JUSTICE STEWART delivered the opinion of the Court.
The appellee is a company engaged in extensive commercial
farming operations in Arizona and California. The appellant is the
official charged with enforcing the Arizona Fruit and Vegetable
Standardization Act. [Footnote
] A provision of the Act requires that, with certain
exceptions, all cantaloupes grown in Arizona and offered for sale
must "be packed in regular compact arrangement in closed standard
containers approved by the supervisor. . . ." [Footnote 2
] Invoking his authority under that
provision, the appellant issued an order prohibiting the appellee
company from transporting uncrated cantaloupes from its Parker,
Arizona, ranch to nearby Blythe, California, for packing and
processing. The company then brought this action in a federal court
to enjoin the order as unconstitutional. A three-judge court was
convened. 28 U.S.C. §§ 2281, 2284. After first granting temporary
relief, the court issued a permanent injunction upon the ground
that the challenged order constituted an unlawful burden upon
interstate commerce. This appeal followed. 28 U.S.C. § 1253. 396
Page 397 U. S. 139
The facts are not in dispute, having been stipulated by the
parties. The appellee company has for many years been engaged in
the business of growing, harvesting, processing, and packing fruits
and vegetables at numerous locations in Arizona and California for
interstate shipment to markets throughout the Nation. One of the
company's newest operations is at Parker, Arizona, where, pursuant
to a 1964 lease with the Secretary of the Interior, the Colorado
River Indian Agency, and the Colorado River Indian Tribes, it
undertook to develop approximately 6,400 acres of uncultivated,
arid land for agricultural use. The company has spent more than
$3,000,000 in clearing, leveling, irrigating, and otherwise
developing this land. The company began growing cantaloupes on part
of the land in 1966, and has harvested a large cantaloupe crop
there in each subsequent year. The cantaloupes are considered to be
of higher quality than those grown in other areas of the State.
Because they are highly perishable, cantaloupes must, upon
maturity, be immediately harvested, processed, packed, and shipped
in order to prevent spoilage. The processing and packing operations
can be performed only in packing sheds. Because the company had no
such facilities at Parker, it transported its 1966 Parker
cantaloupe harvest in bulk loads to Blythe, California, 31 miles
away, where it operated centralized and efficient packing shed
facilities. There, the melons were sorted, inspected, packed, and
shipped. In 1967, the company again sent its Parker cantaloupe crop
to Blythe for sorting, packing, and shipping. In 1968, however, the
appellant entered the order here in issue, prohibiting the company
from shipping its cantaloupes out of the State unless they were
packed in containers in a manner and of a kind approved by the
appellant. Because cantaloupes in the quantity involved can be so
Page 397 U. S. 140
in packing sheds, and because no such facilities were available
to the company at Parker or anywhere else nearby in Arizona, the
company faced imminent loss of its anticipated 1968 cantaloupe crop
in the gross amount of $700,000. It was to prevent this
unrecoverable loss that the District Court granted preliminary
relief. [Footnote 3
After discovery proceedings, an agreed statement of facts was
filed with the court. It contained a stipulation that the practical
effect of the appellant's order would be to compel the company to
build packing facilities in or near Parker, Arizona, that would
take many months to construct and would cost approximately
$200,000. After briefing and argument, the court issued a permanent
injunction, finding that "the order complained of constitutes an
unlawful burden upon interstate commerce." [Footnote 4
The appellant's threshold contention here is that, even though
the challenged order expressly forbids the interstate bulk shipment
of the company's cantaloupes, it imposes no burden upon interstate
commerce. If the Arizona Act is complied with, he argues, all that
will be regulated will be the intrastate packing of goods destined
for interstate commerce. Articles being made ready for interstate
movement are not necessarily yet in interstate commerce, which, he
says, begins only when the articles are delivered to the interstate
shipper. In making this argument, the appellant relies on this
Page 397 U. S. 141
decisions in Federal Compress Co. v. McLean,
291 U. S. 17
Chassaniol v. City of Greenwood, 291 U.
. Both of those cases involved taxes imposed by
Mississippi on a cotton warehouse and compress business located
within that State. The taxes were nondiscriminatory, and were
levied both on the warehoused cotton itself and on certain
processes necessary to ready it for subsequent resale. The taxes
were challenged as unlawful burdens on interstate commerce, since
most of the taxed cotton was ultimately to be shipped to
out-of-state buyers. The Court upheld the constitutionality of the
Mississippi taxes. It is not entirely clear from the Court's
opinions whether their rationale was that the taxes were imposed
before interstate commerce had begun, or that the burden upon
commerce was, at the most, indirect and remote.
But, in any event, the decisions do not support the argument
that the order in the present case does not affect interstate
commerce. In the first place, those cases involved cotton that had
come to rest in Mississippi, and, "[b]efore shipping orders [were]
given, it [had] no ascertainable destination without the state."
291 U.S. at 291 U. S. 21
Here, by contrast, the perishable cantaloupes were destined to be
shipped to an ascertainable location in California immediately upon
harvest. Even more to the point, the taxes in Federal
were imposed on goods and
operations within the State, whereas the application of the statute
at issue here would require that an operation now carried on
outside the State must be performed instead within the State so
that it can be regulated there. If the appellant's theory were
correct, then statutes expressly requiring that certain kinds of
processing be done in the home State before shipment to a sister
State would be immune from constitutional challenge. Yet such
Page 397 U. S. 142
have been consistently invalidated by this Court under the
Commerce Clause. Foster-Fountain Packing Co. v. Haydel,
278 U. S. 1
Johnson v. Haydel, 278 U. S. 1
Toomer v. Witsell, 334 U. S. 385
See also Lemke v. Farmers Grain Co., 258 U. S.
; Shafer v. Farmers Grain Co., 268 U.
. Thus, it is clear that the appellant's order
does affect and burden interstate commerce, and the question then
becomes whether it does so unconstitutionally.
Although the criteria for determining the validity of state
statutes affecting interstate commerce have been variously stated,
the general rule that emerges can be phrased as follows: where the
statute regulates evenhandedly to effectuate a legitimate local
public interest, and its effects on interstate commerce are only
incidental, it will be upheld unless the burden imposed on such
commerce is clearly excessive in relation to the putative local
benefits. Huron Cement Co. v. Detroit, 362 U.
, 362 U. S. 443
If a legitimate local purpose is found, then the question becomes
one of degree. And the extent of the burden that will be tolerated
will, of course, depend on the nature of the local interest
involved, and on whether it could be promoted as well with a lesser
impact on interstate activities. Occasionally, the Court has
candidly undertaken a balancing approach in resolving these issues,
Southern Pacific Co. v. Arizona, 325 U.
, but, more frequently, it has spoken in terms of
"direct" and "indirect" effects and burdens. See, e.g., Shafer
v. Farmers Grain Co., supra.
At the core of the Arizona Fruit and Vegetable Standardization
Act are the requirements that fruits and vegetables shipped from
Arizona meet certain standards of wholesomeness and quality, and
that they be packed in standard containers in such a way that the
outer layer or exposed portion of the pack does not "materially
Page 397 U. S. 143
misrepresent" the quality of the lot as a whole. [Footnote 5
] The impetus for the Act was the
fear that some growers were shipping inferior or deceptively
packaged produce, with the result that the reputation of Arizona
growers generally was being tarnished, and their financial return
concomitantly reduced. It was to prevent this that the Act was
passed in 1929. The State has stipulated that its primary purpose
is to promote and preserve the reputation of Arizona growers by
prohibiting deceptive packaging.
We are not, then, dealing here with "state legislation in the
field of safety where the propriety of local regulation has long
been recognized," [Footnote 6
or with an Act designed to protect consumers in Arizona from
contaminated or unfit goods. Its purpose and design are simply to
protect and enhance the reputation of growers within the State.
These are surely legitimate state interests. Sligh v.
Kirkwood, 237 U. S. 52
237 U. S. 61
have upheld a State's power to require that produce packaged in the
State be packaged in a particular kind of receptacle, Pacific
States Box & Basket Co. v. White, 296 U.
. And we have recognized the legitimate interest
of a State in maximizing the financial return to an industry within
it. Parker v. Brown, 317 U. S. 341
Therefore, as applied to Arizona growers who package their produce
in Arizona, we may assume the constitutional validity of the Act.
We may further assume that Arizona has full constitutional power to
forbid the misleading use of its name on produce that was grown or
packed elsewhere. And, to the extent the Act forbids the shipment
of contaminated or unfit produce, it clearly rests on sure footing.
For, as the Court has said, such produce is "not the legitimate
Page 397 U. S. 144
subject of trade or commerce, nor within the protection of the
commerce clause of the Constitution." Sligh v. Kirkwood,
at 237 U. S. 60
Baldwin v Seelig, 294 U. S. 511
But application of the Act through the appellant's order to the
appellee company has a far different impact, and quite a different
purpose. The cantaloupes grown by the company at Parker are of
exceptionally high quality. The company does not pack them in
Arizona, and cannot do so without making a capital expenditure of
approximately $200,000. It transports them in bulk to nearby
Blythe, California, where they are sorted, inspected, packed, and
shipped in containers that do not identify them as Arizona
cantaloupes, but bear the name of their California packer.
] The appellant's
order would forbid the company to pack its cantaloupes outside
Arizona not for the purpose of keeping the reputation of its
growers unsullied, but to enhance their reputation through the
reflected good will of the company's superior produce. The
appellant, in other words, is not complaining because the company
is putting the good name of Arizona on an inferior or deceptively
packaged product, but because it is not putting that name on a
product that is superior and well packaged. As the appellant's
brief puts the matter,
"It is within Arizona's legitimate interest to require that
interstate cantaloupe purchasers be informed that this high quality
Parker fruit was grown in Arizona. [Footnote 8
Page 397 U. S. 145
Although it is not easy to see why the other growers of Arizona
are entitled to benefit at the company's expense from the fact that
it produces superior crops, we may assume that the asserted state
interest is a legitimate one. But the State's tenuous interest in
having the company's cantaloupes identified as originating in
Arizona cannot constitutionally justify the requirement that the
company build and operate an unneeded $200,000 packing plant in the
State. The nature of that burden is, constitutionally, more
significant than its extent. For the Court has viewed with
particular suspicion state statutes requiring business operations
to be performed in the home State that could more efficiently be
performed elsewhere. Even where the State is pursuing a clearly
legitimate local interest, this particular burden on commerce has
been declared to be virtually per se
Foster-Fountain Packing Co. v. Haydel, 278 U. S.
; Johnson v. Haydel, 278 U. S.
6; Toomer v. Witsell, 334 U.
The appellant argues that the above cases are different because
they involved statutes whose express or concealed purpose was to
preserve or secure employment for the home State, while here the
statute is a regulatory one, and there is no hint of such a
purpose. But in Toomer v. Witsell, supra,
indicated that such a burden upon interstate commerce is
unconstitutional even in the absence of such a purpose. In
the Court held invalid a South Carolina statute
requiring that owners of shrimp boats licensed by the State to fish
in the maritime belt off South Carolina must unload and pack their
catch in that State before "shipping or transporting it to another
State." What we said there applies to this case as well:
"There was also uncontradicted evidence that appellants' costs
would be materially increased by the
Page 397 U. S. 146
necessity of having their shrimp unloaded and packed in South
Carolina ports, rather than at their home bases in Georgia, where
they maintain their own docking, warehousing, refrigeration and
packing facilities. In addition, an inevitable concomitant of a
statute requiring that work be done in South Carolina, even though
that be economically disadvantageous to the fishermen, is to divert
to South Carolina employment and business which might otherwise go
to Georgia; the necessary tendency of the statute is to impose an
artificial rigidity on the economic pattern of the industry."
334 U.S. at 334 U. S.
While the order issued under the Arizona statute does not impose
such rigidity on an entire industry, it does impose just such a
straitjacket on the appellee company with respect to the allocation
of its interstate resources. Such an incidental consequence of a
regulatory scheme could perhaps be tolerated if a more compelling
state interest were involved. But here, the State's interest is
minimal, at best -- certainly less substantial than a State's
interest in securing employment for its people. If the Commerce
Clause forbids a State to require work to be done within its
jurisdiction to promote local employment, then surely it cannot
permit a State to require a person to go into a local packing
business solely for the sake of enhancing the reputation of other
producers within its borders.
The judgment is affirmed.
Ariz.Rev.Stat.Ann., Tit. 3, c. 3, Art. 4.
Ariz.Rev.Stat.Ann. § 3-503C (Supp. 1969).
In view of the emergency situation presented, and the fact that
only a narrow and specific application of the Act was challenged as
unconstitutional, the court was fully justified in not abstaining
from the exercise of its jurisdiction pending litigation in the
state courts. Compare Hostetter v. Idlewild Liquor Corp.,
377 U. S. 324
377 U. S. 329
with Reetz v. Bozanich, ante,
p. 397 U. S. 82
The opinion of the District Court is unreported.
Ariz.Rev.Stat.Ann. §§ 381(7) and (8).
Southern Pacific Co. v. Arizona, 325 U.
, 325 U. S. 796
(DOUGLAS, J., dissenting).
California Agric.Code § 45691. The California Fruit Nut and
Vegetable Standardization Act, California Agric.Code, Division 17,
is virtually identical to the Arizona Act. Each statute has the
same primary purpose of preventing deceptive packs, and it is
stipulated that the standard containers required for cantaloupes in
the two States are exactly the same.
Appellant's Brief 43.
Because of the State's recognized common law property interest
in its fish and wild game, Toomer
presented an especially
strong case for state control.