The U.S. Department of Agriculture has cited six produce businesses for failure to pay reparation awards issued under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act.
These businesses have been barred from operating in the produce industry until their awards are paid. The businesses were served complaints by USDA and were given the opportunity to respond. USDA ordered payment of the following amounts.
- Cerritos Produce LLC, Phoenix, for failing to pay a $3,812 award in favor of a California seller. The sole officer, director, and stockholder is Alfredo Gomez.
- MRP Inc., Los Angeles, for failing to pay a $56,743 award in favor of a California seller. The sole officer, director, and stockholder is Manuel Pinon.
- Agro Mex Produce Inc., San Diego, for failing to pay a $14,218 award in favor of a California seller. The officers, directors, and major stockholders are Silvia Pitones and Jose Pitones-Salazar.
- Ballantine Produce Co. Inc., Sanger, Calif., and Reedley, Calif., for failing to pay a $19,845 award in favor of a Washington seller. The officers, directors, and major stockholders are Eric Albertson, David Albertson, Babijuice Corp. of CA, and Virgil Rasmussen.
- Watermelon Express LLC, Higganum, Conn., for failing to pay a $161,072 award in favor of a Georgia seller. The sole member is Kathleen Annicelli.
- F K Produce Co. LLC, Greensboro, N.C., for failing to pay a $65,249 award in favor of a California seller. The members are Octavio Feerman and Stephen Kim.
The USDA also filed an administrative action against Tanimura Distributing Inc., Irwindale, Calif.
The action alleges the company committed PACA violations.
In the action, it is alleged that the company failed to make full payment promptly to 62 sellers in the total amount of $3,595,217.41 for 759 lots of produce, which the company purchased, received, and accepted November 2007 through August 2008.
The company will have an opportunity to request a hearing. Should USDA find that the company committed the violations, it could be barred from the produce industry for two years, and its principals could not be employed by or affiliated with any PACA licensee for one year and then only with the posting of a USDA-approved surety bond.