WASHINGTON, June 11, 2018 – Nadine Wilkins – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has imposed sanctions on four produce businesses for failure to pay reparation awards issued under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA).
The following businesses and individuals are currently restricted from operating in the produce industry:
- Alejandro Produce Inc., operating out of Vista, Calif., for failing to pay a $22,800 award in favor of a California seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Alejandro Silva was listed as the officer, director and major stockholder of the business.
- Celestin B B Logistics LLC, operating out of Miami, Fla., for failing to pay a $5,176 award in favor of an Oregon seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Benjamin B. Celestin was listed as a member of the business.
- LV and Sons Produce Company LLC, operating out of Forest Park, Ga., for failing to pay a $17,604 award in favor of a Florida seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Glenn C. Volpe, II was listed as a member of the business.
- National Produce Sales Inc., operating out of Lake Zurich, Ill., for failing to pay a $6,980 award in favor of a Florida seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, David M. El-Aboudi and Michael Hughes were listed as the officers, directors and/or major stockholders of the business.
PACA provides an administrative forum to handle disputes involving produce transactions; this may result in a reparation order being issued 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.
The PACA Division, which is in the Fair Trade Practices Program in the Agricultural Marketing Service, regulates fair trading practices of produce businesses that are operating subject to PACA, including buyers, sellers, commission merchants, dealers and brokers within the fruit and vegetable industry.
In the past three years, USDA resolved approximately 3,400 PACA claims involving more than $58 million. PACA staff also assisted more than 8,500 callers with issues valued at approximately $151 million. These are just two examples of how USDA continues to support the fruit and vegetable industry.