USDA Restricts PACA Violators in Arizona, Illinois, New Jersey, and Oklahoma from Operating in the Produce Industry
WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has imposed sanctions on four produce businesses for failure to meet contractual obligations to the sellers of produce they purchased and failing to pay reparation awards issued under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA). In total, the four businesses failed to pay $117,053.
Direct from the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service:
The following businesses and individuals are currently restricted from operating in the produce industry:
- Arizona Marketing Produce Distributors Inc., operating out of Phoenix, Arizona, for failing to pay a $12,100 award in favor of an Arizona seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Lorin Hobbs was listed as the officer, director, and major stockholder of the business.
- Benny’s Farm Fresh Distribution Co., operating out of Wilmette, Illinois, for failing to pay a $12,408 award in favor of a Florida seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Ronald Pomerantz was listed as the officer, director, and major stockholder of the business.
- DR Produce LLC, operating out of Patterson, New Jersey, for failing to pay an $80,647 award in favor of a Florida seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Pavlos Vardinoyannis and Lovely Farms OPCO LLC were listed as members/managers and stockholders of the business.
- PICA Marketing Inc., operating out of Edmond, Oklahoma, for failing to pay an $11,898 award in favor of a Texas seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Joseph Pica 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 more information, and to read the press release in its entirety, click here.