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USDA PACA sanctions update

As part of its efforts to enforce the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act and ensure fair trading practices within the U.S. produce industry, the Department of Agriculture has imposed sanctions on multiple produce businesses for failing to meet their contractual obligations to the sellers of produce they purchased and failing to pay reparation awards issued under the PACA. These sanctions 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. 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.

The following businesses and individuals are currently restricted from operating in the produce industry:

  • Family Fruit 2 Inc., operating out of Staten Island, N.Y., for failing to pay a $47,025 award in favor of a Pennsylvania seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Louis Epifania was listed as the officer, director and/or major stockholder of the business.
  • Green Desert Produce LLC, operating out of Pharr, Texas, for failing to pay an $11,295 award in favor of a Texas seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Clemente Fantini, De RL De CV Bodegas Green Desert Spr. and Roberto Fantini Cardenas were listed as members or managers of the business.
  • Jasmine Parada, doing business as Bella Terra Produce, operating out of Dallas, Texas, for failing to pay a $24,060 award in favor of a Texas seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Jasmine Parada was listed as the sole proprietor of the business.
  • Lonestar Produce Express LLC, operating out of San Antonio, Texas, for failing to pay a $48,735 award in favor of a Texas seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Leonidez Fernandez III and Eric Fernandez were listed as members of the business.
  • AguiGato LLC, operating out of McAllen, Texas, for failing to pay a $4,130 award in favor of a Texas seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Erica Aguirre was listed as the sole member and manager of the business.
  • Luna Wholesale Inc., doing business as Mexluna Produce Stand, operating out of Houston, Texas, for failing to pay a $37,404 award in favor of a Texas seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Rodolfo Luna and Teresa Luna were listed as officers, directors and/or major stockholders of the business.
  • Trinity Fresh Distribution LLC, operating out of Sacramento, California, for failing to pay $3,898,506 to ten sellers for produce that was purchased, received and accepted in interstate and foreign commerce from March 2018 to January 2019. Trinity Fresh cannot operate in the produce industry until June 3, 2022, and then only after they apply for and are issued a new PACA license by USDA. The company’s principal, Paul Abess, may not be employed by or affiliated with any PACA licensee until June 3, 2021, and then only with the posting of a USDA approved surety bond.
  • Double D Sales Company, Inc., operating out of Visalia, California, for failing to pay $378,663 to three sellers for produce that was purchased, received and accepted in interstate and foreign commerce from July 2018 to September 2018. Double D cannot operate in the produce industry until August 4, 2022, and then only after it applies for and is issued a new PACA license by USDA. The company’s principal, Derrick Daniell, may not be employed by or affiliated with any PACA licensee until August 4, 2021, 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.

The PACA Division, which is a part of AMS’ Fair Trade Practices Program, 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.

Click here for an overview of companies who previously violated PACA.

For more information: 
John Koller
USDA
Tel: +1 202 720 2890
Email: PACAdispute@usda.gov
www.ams.usda.gov


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