USDA/AMS Press Release:
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that Martinez Fresh Produce LLC satisfied a reparation order issued under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA).
The Dallas, Texas, company has met its obligations and is now free to operate in the produce industry. Arturo Martinez Isguerra was listed as the officer, director and major stockholder of the business and may now be employed by or affiliated with any PACA licensee.
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 of a 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.
Once a reparation order is fully satisfied and it is confirmed that there are not any outstanding unpaid awards, USDA lifts the employment restrictions of the previously named responsibly connected individuals. USDA will only reinstate the license of a business to an active status if all reparation awards are satisfied and if the license is not terminated.
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 including 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