United States Department of Agriculture Restricts PACA Violators in Arizona, California, Florida, Minnesota, and New Jersey From Operating in the Produce Industry
WASHINGTON, DC - Several companies in the fresh produce industry recently had sanctions imposed on them by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA). The five companies were sanctioned for allegedly failing to meet contractual obligations to the sellers of produce they purchased and failing to pay reparation awards totaling $504,493.
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.
Direct from the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service:
The following businesses and individuals are currently restricted from operating in the produce industry:
- Melonco LLC, operating out of Chandler, Arizona, for failing to pay a $159,143 award in favor of an Arizona seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Billan K. Balbir was listed as the member and manager of the business.
- Monarca Family Farms LLC, operating out of Los Angeles, California, for failing to pay a $253,710 award in favor of a California seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Kimberly Espinoza was listed as the member and manager of the business.
- Berry & Sons Produce LLC, operating out of Bunnell, Florida, for failing to pay a $9,487 award in favor of a North Carolina seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Karlin Berry and Adrianna Campbell were listed as members of the business.
- Chandler Topic Company Inc., operating out of Minnetonka, Minnesota, for failing to pay a $60,853 award in favor of a Texas seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, William Jones and William Jones, Jr., were listed as the officers, directors, and major stockholders of the business.
- Kay Lookash Produce, operating out of Vineland, New Jersey, for failing to pay a $21,300 award in favor of a Texas seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Kelly Nakash was listed as the officer, director, and 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.
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 contact information, and to read the release in full, click here.