The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has imposed sanctions on three 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:
- David & Son Peppers Inc., operating out of Tampa, Fla., for failing to pay a $3,242 award in favor of a Florida seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Mary Martinez was listed as the officer, director and major stockholder of the business.
- Goodness Greeness Inc., doing business as Goodness Greeness, operating out of Chicago, Ill., for failing to pay a $16,179 award in favor of a California seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Howard Berington, Richard T. Scaman and Robert L. Scaman Jr. were listed as the officers, directors and major stockholders of the business. Another principal of the business at the time of the order was Rodney J. Scaman. He has challenged his responsibly connected status.
- Gamez Produce LLC, operating out of Hackensack, N.J., for failing to pay a $97,775 award in favor of a New Jersey seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Faustimo Gamez was listed as a member 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 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 PACA Division, which is part of USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), 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. All oversight of actions related to PACA are conducted by AMS, an agency within USDA.
In the past three years, USDA resolved approximately 3,500 PACA claims involving more than $58 million. Our experts also assisted more than 8,000 callers with issues valued at approximately $140 million. These are just two examples of how 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 PACAdispute@ams.usda.gov regarding this matter.