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USDA restricts PACA violators in four states

As part of its efforts to enforce the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act and ensure fair trading practices within the U.S. produce industry, the Department of Agriculture has imposed sanctions on four produce businesses for failing to meet their contractual obligations to the sellers of produce they purchased and failing to pay reparation awards issued under the PACA.

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

  • A & A Vegetables Inc., operating out of Hicksville, NY, for failing to pay a $70,200 award in favor of a California seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Amandeep Singh was listed as the officer, director and major stockholder of the business.
  • Lurie Bros. LLC, operating out of Chicago, for failing to pay a $26,163 award in favor of an Arkansas seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Salvatore Cimino, Alex Dernis and John Dernis were listed as members of the business. Another principal of the business at the time of the order was Frank Cione. He has challenged his responsibly connected status.
  • Hunter Bros. Inc., operating out of Philadelphia, for failing to pay a $2,682 award in favor of a New Jersey seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Frank J. Wiechec III was listed as the officer, director and major stockholder of the business.
  • Central America Specialties Inc., operating out of Beltsville, MD, for failing to pay a $2,575 award in favor of a Florida seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Benecio Reyes was listed as the officer, director and major stockholder of the business.

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. 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.

In the past three years, USDA resolved approximately 3,500 PACA claims involving more than $58 million. PACA staff also assisted more than 7,800 callers with issues valued at approximately $148 million.

 

 

 

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