Release No.: 125-13
Nadine Wilkins (202) 720-8998
WASHINGTON, July 19, 2013 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has imposed sanctions on three produce businesses for failure to pay reparation awards issued under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA).
The following businesses and individuals are currently restricted from operating in the produce industry:
--Quality Fresh Tropicals N Y Corp., operating out of New York, N.Y., for failing to pay a $34,704 award in favor of a New York seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Pedro L. Orama and Pedro Orama were listed as the officers, directors, and major stockholders of the business.
--Sunshine State Direct Distributors Inc., operating out of Miami, Fla., for failing to pay a $3,171 award in favor of a Washington seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Stephen Chaikin and Neil Florin were listed as the officers, directors, and major stockholders of the business.
--Florida European Export Import Co. Inc., operating out of Miami, Fla., for failing to pay a $9,717 award in favor of a California seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Donald V. Blackburn and Lisbeth Blackburn were listed as the officers, directors, and major stockholders of the business.
PACA provides 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. USDA is required to suspend the license or imposed sanctions on 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 PACA, which includes buyers, sellers, commission merchants, dealers, and brokers within the fruit and vegetable industry. 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 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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