Release No.: 108-13 Contact:
Nadine Wilkins (202) 720-8998
WASHINGTON, June 18, 2013 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has cited Worldwide Produce & Groceries Inc., of Miami, Fla., for failure to pay for produce.
The company failed to pay $274,441 to 11 sellers for 91 lots of produce. This is in violation of the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA). As a result of these actions, Worldwide Produce & Groceries Inc. cannot operate in the produce industry until May 3, 2015, at which time it may reapply for a PACA license.
The company’s principal is challenging his responsibly connected status.
USDA is required to publish the finding that a business has committed willful, repeated, and flagrant violations of PACA as well as impose restrictions against those principals determined to be responsibly connected to the business during the violation period. 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 companies operating subject to PACA, which includes buyers, sellers, commission merchants, dealers, and brokers within the fruit and vegetable industry. USDA is authorized to suspend or revoke a company’s license for violations of PACA. All oversight of actions related to PACA are conducted by AMS, an agency within USDA.
In the past three years, USDA resolved approximately 5,000 claims filed under 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, 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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