USDA Restricts PACA Violators in Arizona, California and Florida From Operating in the Produce Industry

Tuesday, December 12, 2023 - 12:00pm
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 12, 2023 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has imposed sanctions on three produce businesses for failing to meet contractual obligations to the sellers of produce they purchased and failing to pay reparation awards issued under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA). These sanctions include suspending the businesses’ PACA licenses and barring the principal operators of the businesses from engaging in PACA-licensed business or other activities without approval from USDA.

The following businesses and individuals are currently restricted from operating in the produce industry:

  • Fernando Acevedo, Jr., doing business as La Familia Produce, operating out of Nogales, Ariz., for failing to pay a $310,518 award in favor of a Texas seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Fernando Acevedo, Jr. was listed as the sole proprietor of the business.
  • Arturo Hernandez doing business as The Avo King, operating out of Camarillo, Calif., for failing to pay a $41,525 award in favor of a Texas seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Arturo Hernandez was listed as the sole proprietor of the business.
  • Susan Gilbert doing business as Flagler Palm Coast Farmers Market, operating out of Ormond Beach, Fla., for failing to pay a $43,501 award in favor of a Florida seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Susan Gilbert was listed as the sole proprietor;  of the business.

PACA provides an administrative forum to handle disputes involving produce transactions; this may result in USDA’s issuance of a reparation order 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 sanctions 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.

By issuing these penalties, USDA continues to enforce the prompt and full payment for produce while protecting the rights of sellers and buyers in the marketplace.

For more information, contact Penny Robinson-Landrigan, Chief, Dispute Resolution Branch, at (202) 720-2890, or

The PACA Division, which is in the Fair Trade Practices Program in the Agricultural Marketing Service, regulates fair trading practices of produce businesses that are operating subject to PACA, including buyers, sellers, commission merchants, dealers and brokers within the fruit and vegetable industry. In the past three years, USDA handled more than 2,340 cases valued at $126.3 million. PACA staff also assisted over 5,600 callers with issues valued at $146.7 million. These are just two examples of how USDA continues to support the fruit and vegetable industry.


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