USDA Restricts PACA Violators in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, New York, and Texas from Operating in the Produce Industry
- by Melissa De Leon Chavez
WASHINGTON, DC - 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).
According to a press release, the following businesses and individuals are currently restricted from operating in the produce industry:
- Osman Produce LLC, operating out of Tucson, Arizona, for failing to pay a total of $31,627 in awards issued in favor of 3 sellers in Arizona, Florida and North Carolina. As of the issuance date of the reparation orders, Oscar E. Villa was listed as a member of the business.
- Peggy Jean Blatter, operating out of Kersey, Colorado, for failing to pay a $101,962 award in favor of a Colorado seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Peggy J. Blatter was listed as the sole proprietor of the business.
- Genaro Produce Incorporated, operating out of Miami, Florida, for failing to pay a $31,246 award in favor of a Texas seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Genaro Aragon and Teodoro Aragon were listed as the officers, directors and/or major stockholders of the business.
- Herbguy, Inc., operating out of Pleasant Valley, New York, for failing to pay a total of $18,000 in awards issued in favor of 2 sellers in California and New York. As of the issuance date of the reparation orders, John Alva was listed as the officer, director and major stockholder of the business.
- Candymar Produce, Inc., operating out of McAllen, Texas, for failing to pay a $19,407 award in favor of a Texas seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Maricela Diaz and Candido Nieto were listed as the officers, directors and/or major stockholders 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 icensee 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.