USDA Cites Santa Cruz Fresh Produce Inc. in California for PACA Violations
WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has cited Santa Cruz Fresh Produce Inc., Salinas, Calif., for failure to pay for produce.
The company failed to pay $291,679 to nine sellers for 85 lots of produce. This is in violation of the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA). As a result of these actions, Santa Cruz Fresh Produce Inc. cannot operate in the produce industry until Nov. 4, 2018, at which time it may reapply for a PACA license.
The company’s principal, Jose L. Ordonez Lopez, may not be employed by or affiliated with any PACA licensee until Nov. 4, 2017, 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.
In the past three years, USDA resolved approximately 3,500 PACA claims involving more than $58 million. Its experts also assisted more than 8,000 callers with issues valued at approximately $140 million. These are just two examples of how USDA continues to support the fruit and vegetable industry.