USDA/AMS Press Release:
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has imposed sanctions on three 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:
• Alv Farms LLC, operating out of Rio Rico, Ariz., for failing to pay a $15,463 award in favor of an Arizona seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Alv Farms De Mexico Spr. Del Rl was listed as a member of the business. Another principal of the business at the time of the order was Sergio Ruiz De Chavez. He has challenged his responsibly connected status.
• Fresh Seasons LLC, operating out of Doral, Fla., for failing to pay a $22,045 award in favor of a California seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Mario Baez, Fredy [PCE-A1] Martinez and Jaime Penaranda were listed as members of the business.
• Trinity Frozen Foods LLC, operating out of Pembroke, N.C., for failing to pay a $132,652 award in favor of an Arkansas seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, David H. Ross was listed as a member 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 PACA Division, which is part of USDA’S Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) regulates fair trading practices of produce businesses that are operating subject to PACA includes 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 $58 million. Our experts also assisted more than 8,000 callers with issues valued at approximately $140 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