USDA restricts PACA violators in California, Florida and New York
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has imposed sanctions on three produce businesses 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, operating out of Los Angeles, for failing to pay a $44,890 award in favor of a Texas seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Carmen Puente and Lucia Vargas Bodart were listed as the officers, directors and/or major stockholders of the business.
- OM Vegetable Inc., operating out of Hicksville, NY, for failing to pay a $17,518 award in favor of a New Jersey seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Amandeep Singh was listed as the officer, director and major stockholder of the business.
- Linda Mar Imports Incorporated, operating out of Medley, FL, for failing to pay a $17,198 award in favor of a Texas seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Maria Nunez was listed as the officer, director and major stockholder 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. 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.
In the past three years, USDA resolved approximately 3,625 PACA claims involving more than $104 million. PACA staff also assisted more than 7,600 callers with issues valued at approximately $166 million. These are just two examples of how USDA continues to support the fruit and vegetable industry.