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USDA files action over $3.5 million PACA violation

As part of its efforts to enforce the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act and ensure fair trading practices within the U.S. produce industry, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has filed an administrative complaint under the PACA against Southern Produce Distributors Inc.  The company, operating from North Carolina, allegedly failed to make payment promptly to 34 produce sellers in the amount of $3.49 million from April 2017 through June 2018.

Southern Produce Distributors Inc. will have an opportunity to request a hearing.  Should USDA find that the company committed repeated and flagrant violations, it 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.

In the past three years, USDA resolved approximately 3,350 PACA claims involving more than $63 million. PACA staff also assisted more than 8,000 callers with issues valued at approximately $156 million.