USDA/AMS Press Release:
Release No.: 162-14
Contact: Nadine Wilkins, (202) 720-8998, email@example.com
WASHINGTON, July 3, 2014 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has imposed sanctions on four produce businesses for failure to pay reparation awards issued under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA).
The following businesses and individuals are currently restricted from operating in the produce industry:
Aladdin Farms Inc., operating out of Tavares, Fla., for failing to pay a $5,761 award in favor of a Michigan seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Archie J. Sagers Sr. was listed as the officer, director, and major stockholder of the business.
BC Cosmos Inc., operating out of Diamond Bar, Calif., for failing to pay a $113,224 award in favor of a Washington seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Jingying Qi was listed as the officer, director, and major stockholder of the business.
Del Valle Produce Inc., operating out of McAllen, Texas, for failing to pay a $44,766 award in favor of a Texas seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Hugo Perez was listed as the officer, director, and major stockholder of the business.
Valdemar Espinoza, doing business as Espinoza Produce, operating out of McAllen, Texas, for failing to pay a $6,420 award in favor of a Texas seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Valdemar G. Espinoza was listed as the sole proprietor of the business.
PACA provides an administrative forum to handle disputes involving produce transactions; this may result in a reparation order being issued 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.
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), PACA Division, regulates fair trading practices of produce businesses operating subject to PACA, which includes buyers, sellers, commission merchants, dealers, and brokers within the fruit and vegetable industry. All oversight of actions related to PACA are conducted by the AMS, an agency within USDA.
In the past three years, USDA resolved approximately 4,600 claims filed under PACA involving more than $87 million. This is just one more way USDA continues to support the fruit and vegetable industry.
For more information, contact John Koller, Chief, Dispute Resolution Branch at (202) 720-2890, by fax at (202) 690-2815, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org regarding this matter.