USDA files lawsuit against operators in Florida, Minnesota and New York


The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has filed an administrative complaint against Central Market of FL II Inc. for alleged violations of the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA). The company, operating out of Sarasota, Fla., Reportedly failed to promptly make a payment to eight product sellers in the amount of $ 150,383 from November 2019 to May 2020.

Central Market of FL II Inc. will have the opportunity to request a hearing. If the USDA finds out that the company has committed repeated and egregious violations, it would be barred from the industry as a licensee for three years, or two years with the posting of a USDA-approved bond. Additionally, its officers could not be employed by / affiliated with a PACA licensee for two years, or one year with the filing of a USDA approved bond.

For more information, contact Corey Elliott, Chief, Investigations Enforcement Directorate.

Two companies cited
The USDA also imposed sanctions on two production companies for failing to meet contractual obligations to sellers of products they purchased and for failure to pay for repairs granted under the PACA. These sanctions include the suspension of companies’ PACA licenses and prohibiting major company operators from engaging in PACA licensed activities or other activities without USDA approval.

The following companies and individuals cannot currently operate in the fruit and vegetable industry:

  • J & J Distributing Co. of St. Paul, MN for failing to pay $ 19,655 in favor of a California seller. As of the date the remedial order was issued, New Harvest Foods Inc. and Jason Jaynes were on the company’s list of officers, directors and principal shareholders.
  • Produce Depot USA LLC of Bronx, NY for failing to pay $ 42,540 in favor of a Texan seller. On the date of issuance of the repair order, Gaetano Balzano was listed as a member and / or manager of the company.

PACA provides an administrative forum to manage disputes regarding product transactions; this may result in the USDA issuing a remedial order demanding that damages be paid by those who fail to meet their contractual obligations by buying and selling fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables. The USDA is required to suspend the license or impose penalties on an unlicensed company that does not pay for PACA remedies awarded to it, as well as to impose restrictions against constituents determined to be responsibly related to the company when the order is issued. These individuals, including sole proprietors, partners, members, managers, officers, directors, or major shareholders, cannot be employed by or affiliated with a PACA licensee without the approval of the USDA. .

By imposing these penalties, the USDA continues to enforce prompt and full payment for products while protecting the rights of sellers / buyers.

For more information, contact John Koller, Head, Dispute Resolution Directorate.

Click on here for an overview of companies that have already violated PACA.

Contact:
Corey Elliott
USDA
Phone. : +1 (202) 720-6873
[email protected]

John koller
USDA
Phone. : +1 (202) 720-2890
[email protected]
www.ams.usda.gov


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