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USDA lifts PACA sanctions from Georgia business

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that La Central Produce LLC satisfied a $10,496 reparation order issued under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act involving unpaid produce transactions.

The Forest Park, GA, company can continue operating in the produce industry upon applying for and being issued a PACA license. Jose J. Morales was listed as a member of the business and may now be employed by or affiliated with any PACA licensee.

PACA provides an administrative forum to handle disputes involving produce transactions; this may result in USDA’s issuance of a reparation order that requires damages to be paid by those not meeting their contractual obligations in buying and selling fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables. USDA is required to suspend the license or impose sanctions on an unlicensed  business that fails to pay PACA reparations awarded against it as well as impose restrictions against those principals determined to be responsibly connected to the business when the order is issued. Those individuals, including sole proprietors, partners, members, managers, officers, directors or major stockholders, may not be employed by or affiliated with any PACA licensee without USDA approval.

Once a reparation order is fully satisfied and it is confirmed that there are not any outstanding unpaid awards, USDA lifts the employment restrictions of the previously named, responsibly connected individuals. USDA will only reinstate the license of a business to an active status if all reparation awards are satisfied and if the license is not terminated.

In the past three years, USDA resolved approximately 3,350 PACA claims involving more than $63 million. PACA staff also assisted more than 8,000 callers with issues valued at approximately $156 million.