The U.S. Department of Agriculture has imposed sanctions on one California business for violations of the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act and issued an administrative complaint against another California company.
In actions released in separate Nov. 6 news releases, the USDA:
- Imposed sanctions on Huxtable’s Kitchen Inc., Vernon, Calif. for failing to meet its contractual obligations to the sellers of produce it purchased. The USDA said those sanctions include barring the business and the principal operators of the business from engaging in PACA-licensed business or other activities without approval from USDA. By issuing these penalties, USDA continues to enforce the prompt and full payment for produce while protecting the rights of sellers and buyers in the marketplace. The release said Huxtable’s failed to pay $551,829 to six sellers for produce that was purchased, received and accepted in interstate and foreign commerce from October 2015 to May 2016, a violation of PACA rules. Huxtable’s cannot operate in the produce industry until July 15, 2021, and then only after it applies for and is issued a new PACA license by USDA, according to the release.The company’s principals, Perry Morgan, Jay Pack, and Huxtable’s Kitchen Holding Corp., may not be employed by or affiliated with any PACA licensee until July 15, 2020, and then only with the posting of a USDA approved surety bond. Another principal of the business at the time of the order was Lewis Macleod, and the USDA said he has challenged his responsibly connected status.
- Filed an administrative complaint under the PACA against Versa Marketing Inc. The company, operating from California, allegedly failed to make payment promptly to three produce sellers in the amount of $792,939 from February 2018 through August 2018, according to the release. Versa Marketing Inc. will have an opportunity to request a hearing. Should USDA find that the company committed repeated and flagrant violations, Versa would be barred from the produce industry as a licensee for three years, or two years with the posting of a USDA-approved surety bond. Furthermore, its principals could not be employed by or affiliated with any PACA licensee for two years, or one year with the posting of a USDA-approved surety bond.
For further information on both cases, contact Travis Hubbs, chief of the Investigative Enforcement Branch, at 202-720-6873, or by e-mail at [email protected]
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