USDA Restricts PACA Violators in Arizona, California, New York and Virginia from Operating in the Produce Industry
- by Robert Schaulis
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 four produce businesses for failing to meet their contractual obligations to the sellers of produce they purchased and failing to pay reparation awards issued under the 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. 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, the following businesses and individuals are currently restricted from operating in the produce industry:
- SCC International Inc., operating out of Rio Rico, Arizona, for failing to pay a $4,704 award in favor of an Arizona seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Sergio Chamberlain was listed as the officer, director and/or major stockholder of the business.
- Yuri and Eugene Inc., operating out of Los Angeles, California, for failing to pay a $56,645 award in favor of a California seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Nam Yi was listed as the officer, director and/or major stockholder of the business.
- New York Mart Group Inc., operating out of Long Island City, New York, for failing to pay an $87,659 award in favor of a California seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, NYM Holding Inc., and Deng Long were listed as the officers, directors and/or major stockholders of the business.
- TNS Produce Inc., operating out of Alexandria, Virginia, for failing to pay a $21,524 award in favor of a Hawaii seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Susan Nguyen was listed as the officer, director and/or major stockholder 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.
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.