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USDA files action over $1.2M PACA violation

As part of its efforts to enforce the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act and ensure fair trading practices within the U.S. produce industry, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has filed an administrative complaint against Cruisin’ On Inc., doing business as The Produce Network and Diamond Produce Wholesalers & Packers Inc.

The companies, operating from Florida, allegedly failed to make payment promptly to five produce sellers in the amount of $1.19 million from May 2016 through September 2017.

Cruisin’ On Inc., doing business as The Produce Network and Diamond Produce Wholesalers & Packers Inc., will have an opportunity to request a hearing. Should USDA find that the companies committed repeated and flagrant violations, they would be barred from the produce industry as licensees for three years, or two years with the posting of a USDA-approved surety bond. Furthermore, their principals could not be employed by or affiliated with any PACA licensee for two years, or one year with the posting of a USDA-approved surety bond.

The PACA Division, which is a part of AMS’ Fair Trade Practices Program, regulates fair trading practices of produce businesses that are operating subject to the PACA, including buyers, sellers, commission merchants, dealers and brokers within the fruit and vegetable industry.

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. These are just two examples of how USDA continues to support the fruit and vegetable industry.