AMS No. 118-12
Sam Jones-Ellard (202) 660-2268
WASHINGTON, May 24, 2012 – Four companies which previously received orders requiring Harvin Foods Inc. to pay $117,000, have received payments for those orders.
The payments were made through a Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA) surety bond posted by Harvin Foods Inc., to employ Raymond J. Maragni Jr., previously named in PACA actions. Harvin Foods Inc. went out of business in March 2011. Maragni was the only officer of Champion Produce Inc., operating in Manahawkin, N.J., a company which failed to pay reparation awards issued against it under the PACA.
On January 1, 2010, three reparation orders were issued against Champion Produce Inc. The orders were in favor of MJ International Marketing LLC, operating in Rio Rico, Ariz., Champion Produce Sales Inc., operating in Parma, Idaho, and Fresh Quest Inc., operating in Plantation, Fla. An additional order was issued February 1, 2010, in favor of Steve Miller Produce Company Inc., operating in Thomasville, Ga. When Harvin Foods Inc. failed to pay the reparation awards, PACA made claim on the $40,000 surety bond. The funds were distributed on a pro-rata basis.
Any PACA licensee wishing to employ persons who have failed to pay a reparation award or have been subject to a USDA disciplinary action, must post a USDA-approved surety bond.
The PACA requires that all interstate traders in fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables be USDA-licensed. The PACA establishes a code of good business conduct for the produce industry. USDA is authorized to suspend or revoke a trader’s license for violating the act.
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.
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