AMS No. 052-13
Nadine Wilkins (202) 720-8998
WASHINGTON, April 5, 2013 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has again imposed employment restrictions on Celso D. Paganini, a principal of Paganini Produce LLC.
Previous USDA action put employment restrictions on hold pending the outcome of a suit filed by Paganini in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. In December 2012, the case was dismissed.
Paganini Produce LLC failed to pay an $83,290 Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA) reparation award issued in favor of a California receiver. Therefore, Paganini Foods LLC, operating out of Swedesboro, N.J., and Celso D. Paganini, the company’s sole member are restricted from operating in the produce industry.
PACA provides for an administrative forum to handle disputes involving produce transactions; this may result in a reparation order being issued that requires damages to be paid by those not meeting their contractual obligations in buying and selling fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables. The USDA is required to suspend the license of a business that fails to pay PACA reparations awarded against it as well as impose restrictions against those principals determined to be responsibly connected to the business when the order is issued. 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.
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), PACA Division, regulates fair trading practices of produce businesses operating subject to the PACA, which includes buyers, sellers, commission merchants, dealers, and brokers within the fruit and vegetable industry. 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 almost $96 million. This is just one more way USDA continues to support the fruit and vegetable industry.
For more information, contact John Koller, Chief, Dispute Resolution Branch at (202) 720-2890, by fax at (202) 690-2815, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
regarding this matter.
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