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USDA Lifts PACA Reparation Sanctions on Maryland Produce Business

AMS No. 043-12


Nadine Wilkins (202)720-8998


WASHINGTON, Feb. 13, 2012 The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that S E M & Bros. Inc., satisfied a reparation order under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA).


This PACA licensed business has met its obligations and is now free to operate in the produce industry. Steven S. Cho and Lak H. Jung were listed as the officers, directors, and major stockholders of the business and may now be employed by or affiliated with any PACA licensee.


PACA provides an administrative forum to handle disputes over 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.


Once a reparation order is fully satisfied and it is confirmed that there are no outstanding unpaid awards, USDA lifts the employment restrictions of the previously named responsibly connected individuals. USDA will only reinstate the license of a business to an active status if all reparation awards have been satisfied and if the license has not been terminated.


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 the AMS, an agency within the USDA.


In fiscal year 2011, USDA resolved approximately 2,000 claims filed under the PACA involving $31 million. This is just one more way the 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 disputeresolutionsection@ams.usda.gov regarding this matter.


Get the latest Agricultural Marketing Service news at http://www.ams.usda.gov/news or follow us on Twitter @USDA_AMS.


USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).


 
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  Last Modified Date: 02/13/2012