USDA Cites Rain Forest Produce in California for PACA Violations
WASHINGTON, DC - Today, the U.S. Departement of Agriculture (USDA) announced it has imposed sanctions on Rain Forest Produce. These sanctions were imposed against the Los Angeles, California-based company for violating the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA) after allegedly failing to pay sellers of produce.
As part of the sanctions against Rain Forest Produce, the business and its principal operators are barred from engaging in PACA-licensed business or other activities without approval from the USDA.
Direct from the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service:
Rain Forest failed to pay $1,576,260 to 33 sellers for produce that was purchased, received, and accepted in interstate and foreign commerce from October 2018 to February 2020. This is in violation of the PACA. Rain Forest cannot operate in the produce industry until October 12, 2023, and then only after they apply for and are issued a new PACA license by USDA.
The company’s principals, Fernando Pantoja and Tony Perez, may not be employed by or affiliated with any PACA licensee until October 12, 2022, 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.
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 full, click here.