USDA Cites Unified Ltd., d/b/a Pan American Banana in California for PACA Violations
WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has cited Unified Ltd., doing business as Pan American Banana (Pan American Banana), Los Angeles, California, for failure to pay for produce.
According to a USDA press release, the company failed to pay $557,297 to 14 sellers for 423 lots of produce from September 2015 to March 2017. This is in violation of the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA). As a result of these actions, Pan American Banana cannot operate in the produce industry until October 9, 2020, at which time it may reapply for a PACA license.
The company’s principals, Jose M. Del Toro Jr., and Robin L. Del Toro, may not be employed by or affiliated with any PACA licensee until October 9, 2019, 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.