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USDA lifts PACA sanctions from Texas produce business

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that Martinez Fresh Produce LLC satisfied a reparation order issued under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act so the Dallas company is now free to operate in the produce industry. In early October 2015 imposed sanctions on Martinez Fresh Produce for failing to pay a $14,000 award in favor of a Texas seller. 

Arturo Martinez Isguerra was listed as the officer, director and major stockholder of the business and may now be employed by or affiliated with any PACA licensee.

PACA provides an administrative forum to handle disputes involving produce transactions; this may result in a reparation order being issued that requires damages to be paid by those not meeting their contractual obligations in buying and selling fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables. USDA is required to impose sanctions on a business that fails to pay PACA reparations awarded against it as well as impose restrictions against those principals determined to be responsibly connected to the business when the order is issued. Those individuals, including sole proprietors, partners, members, managers, officers, directors or major stockholders may not be employed by or affiliated with any PACA licensee without USDA-approval.

Once a reparation order is fully satisfied and it is confirmed that there are not any outstanding unpaid awards, USDA lifts the employment restrictions of the previously named responsibly connected individuals. USDA also requires any unlicensed company that fully satisfies all unpaid reparation awards to obtain a license if it continues to operate in the industry.

In the past three years, the USDA resolved approximately 3,500 PACA claims involving more than $58 million. Its experts also assisted more than 8,000 callers with issues valued at approximately $140 million