AMS No. 255-12
Nadine Wilkins (202) 720-8998
WASHINGTON, Dec. 4, 2012 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has cited Pelligrino’s Fruit & Produce Inc., (Pellegrino’s) of Lighthouse Point, Fla., for failure to pay for produce.
The company failed to pay $261,196.83 to five sellers for 42 lots of produce. This is in violation of the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA). As a result of these actions, USDA and Pellegrino’s Fruit and Produce Inc. have entered into a consent decision and Pellegrino’s cannot operate in the produce industry until Nov. 7, 2014. At this time, it may reapply for a PACA license.
The company’s sole principal, Joseph M. Pellegrino, may not be employed by or affiliated with any PACA licensee until Nov. 7, 2013. Afterwards, he must post a USDA-approved surety bond before being employed by or affiliated with a PACA licensee.
Under PACA provisions, those individuals held responsibly connected to PACA violations including sole proprietors, partners, members, officers, directors, and stockholders, may not be employed by or affiliated with any PACA licensee without USDA-approval.
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), PACA Division, regulates fair trading practices of produce companies operating subject to the PACA, which includes buyers, sellers, commission merchants, dealers, and brokers within the fruit and vegetable industry. The USDA is authorized to suspend or revoke a company’s license for PACA violations. All PACA oversight actions are conducted by AMS, an agency within USDA.
In the past three years, USDA resolved approximately 5,000 claims filed under the PACA involving almost $96 million. This is just one more way USDA continues to support the fruit and vegetable industry.
For further information, contact Josephine E. Jenkins, Acting Chief, Investigative Enforcement Branch, at (202) 720-6873, by fax at (202) 720-8868, or by email at InvestigativeEnforcement@ams.usda.gov
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