Release No.: 101-15
Nadine Wilkins (202) 720-8998
WASHINGTON, July 15, 2015 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has filed an administrative complaint under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA) against Santa Cruz Fresh Produce Inc.
The company, operating from California, allegedly failed to make payment to nine produce sellers in the amount of $291,679 from May 2012 through July 2013.
Santa Cruz Fresh Produce 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 principal 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.
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), PACA Division, regulates fair trading practices of produce companies operating subject to 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 AMS, an agency within USDA. 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 the past three years, USDA resolved approximately 4,250 claims filed under PACA involving $77 million. Our experts also assisted more than 7,000 callers with issues valued at approximately $110 million. These are just two examples of how USDA continues to support the fruit and vegetable industry.
For further information contact, Josephine E. Jenkins, Chief, Investigative Enforcement Branch, at (202) 720-6873, by fax at (202) 720-8868, or by email at InvestigativeEnforcement@ams.usda.gov
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