WASHINGTON, May 25, 2023 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has imposed sanctions on four produce businesses for failing to meet contractual obligations to the sellers of produce they purchased and failing to pay reparation awards issued under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA).
These sanctions include suspending the businesses’ PACA licenses and barring the principal operators of the businesses from engaging in PACA-licensed business or other activities without approval from USDA.
The following businesses and individuals are currently restricted from operating in the produce industry:
- Soltierra Inc., operating out of Villa Park, Calif., for failing to pay a $17,798 award in favor of a California seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Scott Castanon was listed as the sole officer, director, and stockholder of the business.
- Monarca Natural Foods Inc., BB #:366102 operating out of Los Angeles, Calif., for failing to pay a $54,745 award in favor of a Texas seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Carolina Reynoso was listed as the sole officer, director, and stockholder of the business.
- Produce and More Enterprise LLC, operating out of Houston, Texas, for failing to pay a $7,477 award in favor of a Texas seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Anatana Capital Sapi DE CV and Miguel Pedraza Villareal were listed as the managers and members of the business.
- Florencio Torres, doing business as Torres Fresh Herbs, operating out of Houston, Texas, for failing to pay a $19,633 award in favor of a Pennsylvania seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Florencio Torres was listed as the sole proprietor of the business.
PACA provides an administrative forum to handle disputes involving produce transactions. This may result in USDA’s issuance of a reparation order 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.
By issuing these penalties, USDA continues to enforce the prompt and full payment for produce while protecting the rights of sellers and buyers in the marketplace.
For more information, contact Penny Robinson-Landrigan, Chief, Dispute Resolution Branch, at (202) 720-2890, or PACAdispute@usda.gov.
Release No. 070-23