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Sarita Ranch and Four Other Produce Businesses Sanctioned for PACA Violations

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has cited Sarita Ranch Provission Inc., in Los Angeles, California, for failure to pay more than $700,000 for produce. The government agency also imposed sanctions on four produce businesses for failure to pay reparation awards issued under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA).

Sarita Ranch Provission Inc., failed to pay $756,913 to 16 sellers for produce which was purchased, received and accepted in interstate commerce from March 2017 through November 2017, according to a USDA press release. 

As a result of these actions, Sarita Ranch Provission Inc. is prohibited from operating in the produce industry until Jan. 14, 2021, and then only after they apply for and are issued a new PACA license by USDA.

The company’s principal, Miguel S. Ortega, may not be employed by or affiliated with any PACA licensee until Jan. 14, 2020, and then only with the posting of a USDA approved surety bond.

Four other businesses and individuals in California, Florida and Georgia, are currently restricted from operating in the produce industry, according to the USDA:

  • JW Produce Inc., operating out of Watsonville, Calif., for failing to pay a $27,223 award in favor of a California seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order Verónica Martínez Vázquez was listed as the officer, director and major stockholder of the business.
  • Listo Produce Inc., operating out of Los Angeles, Calif., for failing to pay a $1,484 award in favor of a California seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Pedro L. Astorga was listed as the officer, director and major stockholder of the business.
  • So Fresh Wholesale Corp., operating out of Weston, Fla., for failing to pay a $4,472 award in favor of a Florida seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Mitchel G. Brandfon and Robert Vesco were listed as the officers, directors and/or major stockholders of the business.
  • Weng Farms Inc., operating out of Garden City, Ga., for failing to pay an $84,897 award in favor of an Oregon seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Liya Weng was listed as the officer, director and stockholder of the business.

Related Article: PACA Regulations Defends Traders of Agricultural Products

USDA is required to suspend the license or impose sanctions on an unlicensed 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.

About Hernando Ramírez-Santos

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Editorial and Social Media Coordinator, Abasto Magazine. Accomplished and innovative leader and journalist with over 30 years of experience in print, digital, radio and television.

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