WASHINGTON (USDA) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has filed an administrative action under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA) against United Potato Distributors Inc., d/b/a United Distributors Inc.
The company failed to make full payment promptly to 39 sellers in the total amount of $759,820.22 under the PACA. The company, operating from Los Angeles, Calif., purchased the produce during the period of November 2010 through January 2012.
United Potato Distributors Inc., d/b/a United Distributors Inc. will have an opportunity to request a hearing. Should USDA find that the company committed repeated and flagrant violations, it would be barred from the produce industry for two years. Furthermore, its principals would not be employed by or affiliated with any PACA licensee for one year and then only with the posting of a USDA-approved surety bond.
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. The PACA establishes a code of good business conduct for the produce industry. Under it, all interstate traders in fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables must be licensed by USDA. 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 in their continued efforts to serve and protect the fruit and vegetable industry from unlawful trade practices.