WASHINGTON, D.C. (USDA) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has imposed sanctions on four 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
--Meduri Brothers Produce Inc., operating out of Ravenna, Ohio, for failing to pay a $7,439.15 award in favor of an Ohio seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Christopher J. Meduri was listed as the officer, director, and major stockholder of the business.
--Rui Wen NY, operating out of Brooklyn, N.Y., for failing to pay a $35,783 award in favor of a California seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Hong Wen Cai was listed as the officer, director, and major stockholder of the business.
--El Zorro Wholesaler & Distributing LLC, operating out of Bronx, N.Y., for failing to pay a $12,960 award in favor of a New Jersey seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Celia Fuentes and Jose Adams Fuentes were listed as members of the business.
--M & S Tomato Repacking Co. Inc., operating out of Springfield, Mass., for failing to pay a $42,393.20 award in favor of a Florida seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Lorrie Chrusciel and Thanas Delis were listed as the officers, directors, and major stockholders of the business.
PACA provides for an administrative forum to handle disputes over 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. The USDA is required to suspend the license of a business 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
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 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