The U.S. Department of Agriculture has sanctioned several produce businesses for failing to pay sellers, a violation of the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act.

These companies are restricted from operating in the produce industry for the next two years:

  • Robert Starkweather, doing business as Star Farms, Immokalee, Fla., failed to pay $124,777 to a Florida seller. The responsibly connected individual is Robert Starkweather.
  • Platinum Growers Inc., Canyon Lake, Calif., failed to pay $13,237 to a California seller. The responsibly connected individuals are Brian Douglas, Megan Douglas and William Rosier.
  • Terra Produce Connection Corp., Miami, failed to pay $44,573 to a Canadian seller. The responsibly connected individual is Virnalisi Velez.


PACA citation

The USDA also cited Manuel Piñon for violating PACA employment sanctions by working for Nature Fresh Shippers Inc. and Ivan Big Tree LLC.

Piñon was sanctioned in December 2009 for his involvement in violations connected with MRP Inc. After breaking those employment sanctions, Piñon agreed to another year of suspension, which will end Nov. 7, 2013.