USDA Issues Packers and Stockyards Complaint Against Petaluma Livestock Auction Yard, Inc. and Manuel A. Brazil

Date: 
Monday, August 19, 2019 - 2:30pm
Contact Info: 

Release No.: 107-19

WASHINGTON, Aug. 19, 2019 – As part of its commitment to ensuring fair and competitive markets for the livestock, meat and poultry industries, on July 30, 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a complaint against Petaluma Livestock Auction Yard, Inc. (Petaluma) and Manuel A. Brazil (Brazil) of Petaluma, Calif., for alleged violations of the Packers and Stockyards (P&S) Act.

An investigation by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service revealed that during November and December 2017, Petaluma and Brazil engaged in deceptive trade practices by operating as both a market agency selling livestock in commerce on a commission basis and as a packer under the Act.

Brazil has common ownership and management in Petaluma, a market agency selling livestock on a commission basis, and a slaughterhouse in Newman, Calif. (Newman Plant), a packer subject to the Act. Brazil purchased veal calves, consigned for sale by third parties, from its own market agency and had them custom slaughtered at the Newman Plant. In addition, Petaluma and Brazil served as the sole supplier of livestock for slaughter at the Newman Plant.

Petaluma and Brazil’s auction market business relationship with the Newman Plant lessens its loyalty to consignors and impairs the quality of selling services that it provides to them; this is a violation of the P&S Act.  In addition, operating as a packer and as a market agency selling on commission is considered a deceptive trade practice and is a violation of the Act.

Petaluma and Brazil will have 20 calendar days following receipt of the complaint to respond directly to the USDA Administrative Law Judge or be found in violation and subject to penalty.

The P&S Act authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to assess civil penalties up to $27,500 per violation against any person after the notice and opportunity for hearing on the record. If the allegations are admitted or proven in an oral hearing, Petaluma and Brazil may be ordered to cease and desist from violating the P&S Act and assessed a civil penalty.

The P&S Act is a fair trade practice and payment protection law that promotes fair and competitive marketing environments for the livestock, meat and poultry industries.

For further information about the P&S Act, contact Stuart Frank, Packers and Stockyards Division, at (515) 323-2586, or by email at stuart.frank@usda.gov.

Get the latest Agricultural Marketing Service news at www.ams.usda.gov/news or follow us on Twitter @USDA_AMS. You can also read about us on the USDA blog.

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