Sweet potato grower settles complaint with suspension, fine

07/09/2009 04:20:00 PM
Bob Luder

Garber Farms, Iota, La., has agreed to have its Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act license suspended for 45 days and pay a $100,000 fine.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture received a complaint alleging the sweet potato grower misrepresented the state of origin of sweet potatoes shipped across state lines. More specifically, the complaint alleges Garber Farms sold 39,638 boxes of sweet potatoes grown out of state which were marked as originating from Louisiana.

Garber Farms neither admitted nor denied any allegations in the complaint, according to a USDA release and Matt Garber, partner in Garber Farms.

"We're not happy with it," Garber said of the consent decision. "But the quickest resolution was to settle."

Under PACA, all interstate traders in fresh and frozen produce must be licensed by the USDA, and the department can suspend or revoke a trader's license for violating the act.



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