The U.S. Department of Agriculture has closed an investigation of Mucci Pac U.S.A. Ltd. and reversed its position that the Michigan company needed a license under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act.
Launched in September, the investigation was related to allegations that the company had made false statements about the greenhouse vegetables it repacks, stores and cross-docks, according to a federal court case the Taylor, Mich.-based company filed against USDA.
Mucci Pac U.S.A. Ltd. is “a wholly owned subsidiary of Mucci International Marketing Inc.,” which is headquartered in Kingsville, Ontario.
In an Oct. 9 stipulation in the Michigan company’s case against the USDA, signed by company officials and assistant U.S. attorney Vanessa Mays, the USDA agreed that Mucci Pac U.S.A. does not buy or sell produce and that it therefore does not need a PACA license — a reversal of the position the agency has maintained since June 2013.
The lead attorney for Mucci Pac U.S.A., Jason Klinowski, said the USDA forced the company to obtain a PACA license last year by threatening to close it down, even though it had been operating without a license since its founding in 2006.
In the stipulation, which requires approval from a judge, Mucci Pac U.S.A. Ltd. agreed to surrender its PACA license.
In an unrelated case, Mucci International, its subsidiary Mucci Pac Ltd. of Kingsville, and two of its executives currently face criminal fraud charges in federal court in Canada. That case alleges the company incorrectly labeled Mexican produce as a product of Canada. A hearing in the Canadian case is set for Oct. 20.