May 6, 2016
On Wednesday, USDA announced sanctions on four produce businesses for failure to pay reparation awards issued under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act. Two of them were from New Jersey and New York. The businesses and individuals are currently restricted from operating in the produce industry:
2 New York and New Jersey produce buyers cited for non-payment violations
ABI Imports Inc., operating out of Pittsgrove, N.J., allegedly failed to pay a $12,218 award in favor of a Georgia seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Christopher A. Bowe was listed as the officer, director, and major stockholder of the business. Another principal of the business at the time of the order was Karen Bowe and she has challenged her responsibly connected status.
National Farm Wholesale Fruit & Vegetable Corp., operating out of Bronx, N.Y., allegedly failed to pay a $27,819 award to a New Jersey seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Farid I. Jaber was listed as the officer, director, and major stockholder 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.
All oversight of actions related to PACA are conducted by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service. In the past three years, USDA resolved approximately 3,700 PACA claims involving more than $66 million.
For more information, contact John Koller, Chief, Dispute Resolution Branch at (202) 720-2890, by fax at (202) 690-2815, or by email at [email protected] .
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