The U.S. Department of Agriculture has suspended Top Tomato Co.’s license for two years after it failed to meet its obligations to sellers.
The Pompano Beach, Fla.-based company failed to pay $331,447 to 11 sellers for 36 lots of produce. Because of this violation of the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act, Top Tomato Co. entered into a consent decision with the USDA and cannot operate in the produce industry until November 2014.
Top Tomato Co. was cited in February for failing to pay $15,120 to a Texas seller.
It also was sued in March by Gadsden Tomato Co. for $95,000. The co-plaintiffs in that suit were Gargiulo Inc. and Quincy Tomato Co., as well as Classie Growers, Taylor & Fulton Packing, Flavor-Pic Tomato Co., Mecca Family Farms, Whisenant Family Farms, Jones & Church Farms, Gulfstream Tomato Packing, Harllee Packing, and Juniper Tomato Growers.
Jeff Pfaff, chief executive officer and president, is the responsibly connected individual and cannot work in the industry for a year. After Nov. 3, 2013, he can be employed by any PACA licensee with USDA approval and the posting of a surety bond.