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 three 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:
- Lua Produce Corp., operating out of Opalocka, Fla., for failing to pay a $39,613 award in favor of an Alabama seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Luis A. Burbano was listed as the officer, director and major stockholder of the business.
- Mr. G. International Produce, Inc., operating out of Bronx, N.Y., for failing to pay a $29,475 award in favor of a New Jersey seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Jose A. Gomez was listed as the officer, director and major stockholder of the business.
- Bucks Fresh Produce LLC, operating out of McAllen, Texas, for failing to pay a $16,456 award in favor of a Texas seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Christopher Torres and Diana D. Torres were listed as members of the business.
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.
Click here for an overview of companies who previously violated PACA.