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Agricultural Marketing Service

01/22/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 01/22/2020 13:38

USDA Lifts PACA Reparation Sanctions on Florida Produce Business

Release No.: 025-20

WASHINGTON, Jan. 22, 2020 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that Epic Fresh Produce LLC satisfied a reparation order in the amount of $43,302 issued under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA) involving unpaid produce transaction(s).

The Boca Raton, Fla., company can continue operating in the produce industry upon applying for and being issued a PACA license. Mario Cardenas was listed as a member of the business and may now be employed by or affiliated with any PACA licensee.

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.

Once a reparation order is fully satisfied and it is confirmed that there are not any outstanding unpaid awards, USDA lifts the employment restrictions of the previously named, responsibly connected individuals. USDA also requires any unlicensed company that fully satisfies all unpaid reparation awards to obtain a license if it continues to operate in the industry.

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 3,500 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 the USDA continues to support the fruit and vegetable industry.

For more information regarding this matter, contact John Koller, Chief, Dispute Resolution Branch, at (202) 720-2890, by fax at (202) 690-2815, or by email at [email protected]regarding this matter.

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