The U.S. Department of Agriculture has taken action against two produce companies and suspended six others for violating the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act.
The USDA filed administrative actions against:
- Sutton Fruit & Vegetable Co., Forney, Texas, for failing to pay 13 sellers a total of $585,517 for produce bought from May 2011 to February 2012.
- Freshco Foodservice Inc., Portland, Ore., for failing to pay eight sellers a total of $288,372 for produce purchased from August 2010 to August 2011.
Both companies will have the opportunity to request a hearing.
The USDA also sanctioned:
- Adam Guzman Jr., doing business as AG Tomato Co., Houston, for failing to pay $5,000 to a Texas seller. The responsibly connected individual is Adam Guzman Jr.
- Centex Produce Inc., Austin, Texas, for failing to pay $4,590 to a Texas seller. The responsibly connected individuals are Atticus Macias, Montana Macias and Yves Macias.
- Ortiz Produce Inc., Chicago, for failing to pay $38,616 to a Texas seller. The responsibly connected individual is Jose L. Ortiz.
- Sheng Hung Hong Co. Inc., Cleveland, for failing to pay $7,121 to a Florida seller. The responsibly connected individual is Ju Wu.
- Agronomics & Packaging Inc., Vernon, Calif., for failing to pay $30,862 to a California seller. The responsibly connected individual is Sharilyn Adams.
- Pellegrini Produce LLC, St. Louis, for failing to pay $11,494 to a California seller. The responsibly connected individual is Mark Fazil.
Suspension of restrictions
The USDA also announced a stay on employment restrictions it previously imposed on Celso Paganini of Paganini Foods LLC.
Paganini Foods had failed to pay a reparation award to a California seller and on June 13 filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York seeking a preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order against the USDA. As a result, the employment restrictions on Celso Paganini have been suspended.
S&H Packing Sales Co., Los Angeles, has posted a $60,000 surety bond to employ Anthony Moreno.
Moreno was listed as a responsibly connected individual with Moreno Brothers Two Inc., Woodland Hills, Calif., which failed to pay PACA awards as ordered by the USDA.