The U.S. Department of Agriculture has imposed sanctions on Imperial Frozen Foods Op Co LLC, Wake Forest, N.C., for violating the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act. These sanctions include barring the business and the principal operator of the business from engaging in PACA-licensed business or other activities without approval from USDA.
Imperial failed to pay $5,247,130 to 30 sellers for produce that was purchased, received and accepted in interstate and foreign commerce from May 2019 to January 2020. This is in violation of the PACA. Imperial cannot operate in the produce industry until March 2, 2023, and then only after they apply for and are issued a new PACA license by USDA.
The company’s principal, Craig Higgins, may not be employed by or affiliated with any PACA licensee until March 2, 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.
Click here for an overview of companies who previously violated PACA.