USDA Lifts PACA Reparation Sanctions on Florida Produce Business
WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced that Miami, Florida-based company COOQ Merchants & Consulting Inc., has satisfied a reparation order in the amount of $11,305 issued under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA). The order was set in place after the company allegedly failed to pay produce sellers in the same amount.
Direct from the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service:
The Miami, Florida, company can continue operating in the produce industry upon applying for and being issued a PACA license. Alejandro Badilla was listed as an officer, director, and major stockholder of the business and may now be employed by or affiliated with any PACA licensee.
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.
Once a reparation order is fully satisfied and it is confirmed that there are not any outstanding unpaid awards, USDA lifts the employment restrictions of the previously named, responsibly connected individuals. USDA also requires any unlicensed company that fully satisfies all unpaid reparation awards to obtain a license if it continues to operate in the industry.
For more information, and to read the release in full, click here.