AMS No. 049-13
Nadine Wilkins (202) 720-8998
WASHINGTON, March 26, 2013 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has cited Delta Fresh Fruit Inc., of Vernon, Calif., for failure to pay for produce.
The company failed to pay $338,659 to seven sellers for 49 lots of produce. This is in violation of the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA). As a result of these actions, Delta Fresh Fruit Inc. cannot operate in the produce industry until Feb. 14, 2015, at which time it may reapply for a PACA license.
The company’s principal, Julio C. Nievas, may not be employed by or affiliated with any PACA licensee until Feb. 14, 2014, and then only with the posting of a USDA-approved surety bond. Two other principals are challenging their responsibly connected status.
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 violations of the PACA. All oversight of actions related to the PACA are conducted by AMS, an agency within USDA.
In the past three years, USDA resolved approximately 5,000 claims filed under the PACA involving $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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