USDA Restricts PACA Violators in Florida and South Carolina From Operating in the Produce Industry
WASHINGTON, DC - This week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) imposed sanctions on two produce businesses as part of its efforts to enforce the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA). Alpha Family Farms LLC, located in Florida, allegedly failed to pay a $22,625 reparation award, and Sandifer Farms LLC, located in South Carolina, allegedly failed to pay a $172,156 reparation award. Both companies will have their PACA licenses suspended and will be barred from participating in PACA-licensed businesses or other activities without approval from the USDA.
Direct from the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service:
The following businesses and individuals are currently restricted from operating in the produce industry:
- Alpha Family Farms LLC, operating out of Royal Oak Beach, Florida, for failing to pay a $22,625 award in favor of a Florida seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Amanda Camacho and Christian Spataro were listed as members of the business.
- Sandifer Farms LLC, operating out of Blackville, South Carolina, for failing to pay a $172,156 award in favor of a Florida seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Bruce A. Barron and Phillip L. Sandifer were listed as members of the business. Another principal of the business at the time of the order was Michael C. Harris. He has challenged his responsibly connected status.
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.
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 3,500 PACA claims involving more than $58 million. PACA staff also assisted more than 7,800 callers with issues valued at approximately $148 million. These are just two examples of how USDA continues to support the fruit and vegetable industry.
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