USDA/AMS Press Release – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has imposed sanctions on five 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:
• Guadalupe Guerrero, doing business as Lupe Produce, operating out of Los Angeles, Calif., for failing to pay a $2,600 award in favor of a California seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Guadalupe Guerrero was listed as the sole proprietor of the business.
• Primera Avocados LLC, operating out of Camarillo, Calif., for failing to pay a $106,880 award in favor of a Texas seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Evelyn Hernandez was listed as member of the business.
• Chispis Produce Inc., operating out of Chicago, Ill., for failing to pay a $5,212 award in favor of an Illinois seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Juan Pablo Ojeda was listed as the officer, director and major stockholder of the business.
• Houston International Produce Inc., operating out of Houston, Texas, for failing to pay a $7,838 award in favor of an Idaho seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Jose A. Turcisos Gonzalez was listed as the officer, director and major stockholder of the business.
• East Coast Impex LLC, operating out of Manassas, Va., for failing to pay a $23,520 award in favor of a Virginia seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Srinivas Sathyavedu Kalyan 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 in the Fair Trade Practices Program in the Agricultural Marketing Service, 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 3,400 PACA claims involving more than $58 million. PACA staff also assisted more than 8,500 callers with issues valued at approximately $151 million. These are just two examples of how USDA continues to support the fruit and vegetable industry.
For more information regarding this matter, 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.
Contact Info: Nadine Wilkins, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-720-8998
Release No.: 059-18
For more PACA violations reported by Blue Book Services: #PACAViolations