The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has filed an administrative complaint against New York Mart Group Inc., for possible PACA violations. The company, operating from New York, allegedly failed to make payment promptly to 23 produce sellers in the amount of $896,107 from October 2016 through December 2018.
New York Mart Group Inc. will have an opportunity to request a hearing. Should USDA find that the company committed repeated and flagrant violations under the under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA), 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.
The PACA Division, which is in the Fair Trade Practices Program in the Agricultural Marketing Service, regulates fair trading practices of produce businesses that are operating subject to PACA, including buyers, sellers, commission merchants, dealers and brokers within the fruit and vegetable industry.
Last month, the USDA imposed sanctions on two produce businesses for failing to meet their contractual obligations to the sellers of produce they purchased and failing to pay reparation awards issued under the PACA.
These sanctions include suspending the businesses’ PACA licenses and barring the principal operators of the businesses 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 following businesses and individuals are currently restricted from operating in the produce industry:
Harvest Soul LLC, operating out of Fairburn, Ga., for failing to pay a $5,492 award in favor of a Florida seller. As of the issuance date of the USDA reparation order, Kevin Quirk was listed as a member of the business.
Church Hill Farms and Logistics, operating out of York, Pa., for failing to pay a $1,063,529 award in favor of a California seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Vincenzo F. Giuffrida was listed as the officer, director and major stockholder of the business.