The U.S. Department of Agriculture has restricted several produce companies under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act for failing to pay for produce.
The companies are:
- Third Coast Produce Co. Ltd., Houston, for failing to pay $514,943 to 21 sellers for 207 lots of produce. The firm is restricted until June 5, 2014. The responsibly connected individual, Artemio M. Bueno, is barred from employment or affiliation with any PACA licensee until June 5, 2013, and then only with the posting of a bond. Two other allegedly responsibly connected individuals are challenging their status.
- Rafael Rios, doing business as Arizona Produce, Yuma, Ariz., for failing to pay $5,017 to a California seller. The responsibly connected individual is Rafael Rios.
- Sutton Fruit & Vegetable Company, Forney, Texas, for failing to pay $15,423 to a Texas seller. The responsibly connected officers are Donald Johnson, Christopher Sutton and Keith Sutton.
- Sungate Marketing LLC, East Wenatchee, Wash., for failing to pay $39,933 to a Georgia seller. The responsibly connected individuals are Chris Hartmann and Belinda Hartmann.
The USDA also filed a PACA action against Delicias Produce Co. Inc., Nashville, Tenn., for allegedly failing to pay 15 sellers a total of $519,884 for produce purchased between September 2010 and July 2011.
The USDA has found James Zappala responsibly connected to Empire Fresh Cuts LLC., Oswego, N.Y. Empire Fresh Cuts entered into a consent decision in March accepting a two-year ban for failing to pay $1.02 million to produce sellers.
Mario Salas, doing business as Di Ogg Produce, Los Angeles, has satisfied a PACA reparation order and is free to operate in the produce industry, according to a June 21 news release.