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USDA restricts PACA violators in three states

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WASHINGTON, March 28, 2024 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has imposed sanctions on four produce businesses for failing to meet contractual obligations to the sellers of produce they purchased and failing to pay reparation awards issued under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA). These sanctions include suspending the businesses’ PACA licenses and barring the principal operators of the businesses from engaging in PACA-licensed business or other activities without approval from USDA.

The following businesses and individuals are currently restricted from operating in the produce industry:

  • West Central Produce Inc., operating out of Norwalk, Calif., for failing to pay a $117,277 award in favor of a California seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Jamie Purcell and Michael P. Dodo were listed as the officers, directors and/or major stockholders of the business.
  • Elirey Group Inc., doing business as, Hank’s Farmer Market, operating out of Jurupa Valley, Calif., for failing to pay a $22,137 award in favor of a California seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Elizabeth Reynoso and Manuel I. Reynoso were listed as the officers, directors and/or major stockholders of the business.
  • Peak Seasons Produce LLC, operating out of Miami Lakes, Fla., for failing to pay a $113,834 award in favor of an Oregon seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Justin Daye was listed as the manager of the business.
  • Avonature LLC, operating out of Houston, Texas, for failing to pay a $29,003 award in favor of a Texas seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Cecilia Rodriguez Palomo and Fernando Ochoa Rodriguez were listed as members and managers of the business.

PACA provides an administrative forum to handle disputes involving produce transactions; this may result in USDA’s issuance of a reparation order 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.

By issuing these penalties, USDA continues to enforce the prompt and full payment for produce while protecting the rights of sellers and buyers in the marketplace.

For more information, contact Penny Robinson-Landrigan, Chief, Dispute Resolution Branch, at (202) 720-2890 or [email protected].

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