The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced April 26 that it has filed an administrative action under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA) against The Produce Connection Inc. involving alleged failure to pay almost $1.5 million owed to 58 produce growers between June 2015 through January 2017.
The wholesaler was at one time one of the larger players in the Florida produce industry before filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in December 2016. A value-added fresh-cut operation was launched in January 2015.
USDA alleges that the operation defaulted on $1,488,447 in payments to growers over the course of 18 months ending in January 2017.
The Produce Connection 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 could 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.