AMS No. 047-12
Nadine Wilkins (202)720-8998
WASHINGTON, Mar. 30, 2012 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced Nature’s Fresh Choice Inc. satisfied a reparation order under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA).
This business is unlicensed and cannot operate in the produce industry unless it is issued a PACA license. However, Armando Romero was listed as the officer, director, and major stockholder of the business and may now be employed by or affiliated with any PACA licensee.
PACA provides for 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 impose sanctions on a business that fails to pay PACA reparations awarded against it as well as imposes 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 not any outstanding unpaid awards, the PACA lifts the employment restrictions of the previously named responsibly connected individuals. The PACA also requires any unlicensed company that fully satisfies all unpaid reparation awards to obtain a license if it continues to operate in the industry.
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. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
regarding this matter.
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