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USDA restricts PACA violators in California, Minnesota and Texas

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has imposed sanctions on four produce businesses — Fresh Life, Dukarani Food Processing, New Start Produce Group and Nationwide Foods — for failing to meet contractual obligations to the sellers of produce they purchased and failing to pay reparation awards issued under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act.

These sanctions include suspending the businesses’ PACA licenses and barring the principal operators of the businesses from engaging in PACA-licensed business or other activities without approval from USDA.

The following businesses and individuals are currently restricted from operating in the produce industry:

  • New Start Produce Group LLC, operating out of Dallas, for failing to pay a $33,214 award in favor of a Texas seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Carlos Chavez and Ruben Ayala were listed as the members of the business.
  • Fresh Life Co., operating out of Moreno Valley, CA, for failing to pay a $15,780 award in favor of a California seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Gabriel Gomez and Rose Mata were listed as the officers, directors and/or major stockholders of the business.
  • Nationwide Foods LLC, operating out of Grand Prairie, TX, for failing to pay a $12,243 award in favor of a Texas seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Rosario Lanao was listed as the manager of the business.
  • Dukarani Food Processing Inc., operating out of Minneapolis, MN, for failing to pay an $11,040 award in favor of an Illinois seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Fomba S. Konjan and Mohammed Dukuly were listed as the officers, directors and/or major stockholders of the business.

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.

By issuing these penalties, USDA continues to enforce the prompt and full payment for produce while protecting the rights of sellers and buyers in the marketplace.

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.

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