USDA files action for $400K PACA violation
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has filed an administrative complaint against Mestizos Group LLC for alleged violations of the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act. The company, operating from Texas, allegedly failed to make payment promptly to five produce sellers in the amount of $399,416 from April 2021 through September 2021.
Mestizos will have an opportunity to request a hearing. Should USDA find that the company committed repeated and flagrant violations, it would be barred from the produce industry as a licensee for three years, or two years with the posting of a USDA-approved surety bond. Furthermore, its principals could not be employed by or affiliated with any PACA licensee for two years, or one year with the posting of a USDA-approved surety bond.
The PACA Division, which is in the Fair Trade Practices Program in the Agricultural Marketing Service, regulates fair trading practices of produce businesses that are operating subject to PACA, including buyers, sellers, commission merchants, dealers and brokers within the fruit and vegetable industry.
In the past three years, USDA resolved over 3,000 PACA claims involving approximately $147 million. PACA staff also assisted more than 5,900 callers with issues valued at approximately $163 million.