Release No. 038-14
Nadine Wilkins (202) 720-8998
WASHINGTON, Feb. 10, 2014 -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has imposed sanctions on five 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:
-Produce Fresh, Inc., operating out of San Antonio, Texas, for failing to pay a $20,923 award in favor of a Florida seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Maria L. Baez was listed as the officer, director, and major stockholder of the business.
-Trans Mid East Shipping & Trading Agency, Inc., operating out of Farmingdale, N.Y., for failing to pay a $49,000 award in favor of an Arizona seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Alex Joudeh and Iskandar Joudeh were listed as the officers, directors, and major stockholders of the business.
-Tony Sylvester, d/b/a Sylvester Produce, operating out of Sylvania, Ohio for failing to pay a $12,320 award in favor of a Michigan seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Tony Sylvester was listed as the sole proprietor of the business.
-Hall Brothers Produce LLC, operating out of Plant City, Fla. for failing to pay a $17,240 award in favor of a Florida seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, William T. Hall, Jr., was listed as a member of the business.
-IBC Produce, Inc., operating out of Los Angeles, Calif., for failing to pay a $9,966 award in favor of a Washington seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Kwan S. In was listed as the officer, director, and major stockholder 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 impose sanction on an unlicensed 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 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 the past three years USDA resolved approximately 4,600 claims filed under the PACA involving more than $87 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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