( File photo )

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has reversed a decision that would have barred a man from the industry due to Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act violations.

Michael C. Harris, who was initially listed as “responsibly connected” to Sandifer Farms LLC, Blackville, S.C., requested a USDA hearing to contest his connection to the business. The USDA determined he was not connected to the company, which allows him to be employed by or affiliated with any PACA licensee, according to a news release.

Sandifer Farms failed to pay a Florida produce seller $172,156, according to the release. The USDA sanctioned the company and its principals through the PACA.

In another recent PACA action, the USDA reported that Produce Packaging Inc., Cleveland, Ohio, posted a $100,000 bond with the USDA, allowing the company to employ Andrew Weingart.

The PACA requires bonds to be posted by companies who want to hire someone who was sanctioned by the USDA in a PACA case, if the hiring occurs before the sanctions expire. The UDSA must approve the bonds.

In September 2018, according to a USDA news release, Weignart was president of Forest City Weingart Produce Co., Cleveland, when the USDA ruled the company had violated the PACA.

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