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USDA files action over $1.55M PACA violations

The U.S. Department of Agriculture filed an administrative complaint against Island Fresh De Puerto Rico Inc. for alleged violations of the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act. The company, operating from Puerto Rico, allegedly failed to make payment promptly to six produce sellers in the amount of $1.55 million from August 2019 through July 2020.

IFPR 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 approximately 3,500 PACA claims involving more than $165 million. PACA staff also assisted more than 6,600 callers with issues valued at approximately $169 million.

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