United States Department of Agriculture Restricts PACA Violators in Florida, New York, and Texas From Operating in the Produce Industry
WASHINGTON, DC - Recently, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) imposed sanctions on four produce businesses based out of Florida, New York, and Texas, for allegedly failing to meet contractual obligations to the sellers of produce they purchased. Additionally, the businesses failed to pay reparation awards totaling $182,767 issued under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA).
The sanctions imposed by the USDA 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:
- Fresh Florida Products, operating out of Tampa, Florida, for failing to pay a $70,617 award in favor of a Texas seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Tareq Damra was listed as the officer, director, and major stockholder of the business
- Quality Foods Produce, operating out of Port St. Lucie, Florida, for failing to pay a $32,302 award in favor of a Utah seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Jose Perez was listed as the officer, director, and major stockholder of the business
- US Fresh Corp., operating out of Bronx, New York, for failing to pay a $33,616 award in favor of a Texas seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Gonzalo Jaramillo was listed as the officer, director, and major stockholder of the business
- The Great Produce, operating out of Pharr, Texas, for failing to pay a $46,232 award in favor of a Texas seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Juan Jose Hernandez Perez, Javier Torres Sesin, Yamil Torres Tanus, and Juan Carlos Cruz Castro were listed as members 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.
To read the release in its entirety, click here.