USDA Cites C & D Produce Outlet South Inc. in Florida for PACA Violations
- by Jordan Okumura
WASHINGTON, DC - As part of its efforts to enforce the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA) and ensure fair trading practices within the U.S. produce industry, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) has imposed sanctions on C & D Produce Outlet South Inc. (C & D Produce South), Palm Springs, Florida, for failing to meet its contractual obligations to the sellers of produce it purchased. These sanctions include revoking the business’s PACA license and barring the principal operators of the business from engaging in PACA-licensed businesses or other activities without approval from USDA. 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.
According to a press release, C & D Produce South failed to pay $123,112 to six sellers for produce that it purchased, received and accepted in interstate and foreign commerce from July 2015 to October 2016. This is in violation of the PACA. As a result of these actions, C & D Produce South cannot operate in the produce industry until April 20, 2021, and then only after they apply for and are issued a new PACA license by USDA.
The company’s principals, Carol Saldana, Collyn Saldana and Daniel Saldana, Jr., may not be employed by or affiliated with any PACA licensee until April 20, 2020, and then only with the posting of a USDA approved surety bond.
USDA is required to publish the finding that a business has committed willful, repeated, and flagrant violations of PACA as well as impose restrictions against those principals determined to be responsibly connected to the business during the violation period. 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 3,350 PACA claims involving more than $63 million. PACA staff also assisted more than 8,000 callers with issues valued at approximately $156 million. These are just two examples of how USDA continues to support the fruit and vegetable industry.