(July 18, 2:20 p.m.) WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture has filed an administrative action against Superior Produce Inc., operating in Dallas. The action alleges that the company committed willful, repeated, and flagrant violations of the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act.

In the action, it is alleged that the company failed to make full payment promptly to 11 sellers of the agreed purchase prices, in the total amount of $449,807.04 for 258 lots of perishable agricultural commodities, which the company purchased, received, and accepted in the course of interstate and foreign commerce during the period of June 2005 through October 2006.

The company will have an opportunity to request a hearing. Should USDA find that the company committed repeated and flagrant violations, it could be barred from the produce industry for two years. Furthermore, 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.

The PACA establishes a code of good business conduct for the produce industry. Under it, all interstate traders in fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables must be licensed by USDA. USDA is authorized to suspend or revoke a trader's license for violating the act.