USDA/AMS Press Release:
WASHINGTON, May 4, 2016 – 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:
• ABI Imports Inc., operating out of Pittsgrove, N.J., for failing to pay a $12,218 award in favor of a Georgia seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Christopher A. Bowe was listed as the officer, director, and major stockholder of the business. Another principal of the business at the time of the order was Karen Bowe and she has challenged her responsibly connected status.
• National Farm Wholesale Fruit & Vegetable Corp., operating out of Bronx, N.Y., for failing to pay a $27,819 award in favor of a New Jersey seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Farid I. Jaber was listed as the officer, director, and major stockholder of the business.
• Haag Food Service Inc., operating out of Breese, Ill., for failing to pay an $86,925 award in favor of an Ohio seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Jack E. Garcia was listed as the officer, director, and major stockholder of the business.
• Alejandro Cartagena, doing business as Cartagena Produce, operating out of McAllen, Texas, for failing to pay a $68,250 award in favor of a Texas seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Alejandro Cartagena 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 3,700 PACA claims involving more than $66 million. Our experts also assisted more than 7,100 callers with issues valued at approximately $100 million. These are just two examples of how 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 PACAdispute@ams.usda.gov regarding this matter.
For more PACA violations reported by Blue Book Services: #PACAViolations