( File photo )

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is restricting California and New York businesses from operating in the industry, including meal kit company Chef’d, which closed abruptly last July when it ran out of funds.

At its peak, Chef’d customers included Costco, Tops Markets, Food Lion, Gelson’s and Hy-Vee. A pilot with Walgreens also was planned.

According to the USDA, Chef’d, El Segundo, Calif., violated the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act by not paying about $50,000 to a California seller. The USDA lists numerous managers/members of the business: Big Wave Sound Productions, John Camphuse, Susan Camphuse, Caribou Consolidated LLC, D2 Doll Partnership, Forum Family Fund LLC, Chris Growney, John C. Hood, Kris Langley, Jim Langley, MB Investors LLC, Morgan Hunter Capital LLC, Kyle Ransford, Mark Sprague and Ross Westreich.

Along with Chef’d, three other businesses have been restricted from operating in the produce industry due to PACA violations, according to a USDA news release:

  • Jose Mendez, doing business as All Fresh Cold Storage, also trading as JMB Logistics, Los Angeles, for not paying a total of $195,058 in connections with two awards to Arizona and Ohio companies. Jose B. Mendez is the sole proprietor of the company;
  • Write On Marketing Inc., Los Angeles, for not paying $219,906 in connection with three awards to sellers in Arizona, California and Florida.  Arnulfo Diaz and Jose G. Salazar were identified as officers and/or major stockholders of the business; and
  • Little Mexico Wholesale Inc., Bronx, N.Y., for failing to pay $53,630 to a Texas seller. The USDA identified Josefina Aguirre and Bartolome Aguirre as the officers, directors and/or major stockholders of the business.