Fresh Florida Products Inc. and others in produce cited for PACA violations
A process that began in November 2022, after the USDA filed an administrative complaint against Fresh Florida Products Inc., for alleged violations of the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA), has concluded with sanctions including barring the business and its principal operators from engaging in PACA-licensed business or other activities without USDA approval.
The company, which operates from Tampa, FL, failed to make payment promptly to eight produce sellers in the amount of $390,603 from May 2021 through February 2022.
Imposed sanctions determine that Fresh Florida cannot operate in the produce industry until July 12, 2025, and then only after it applies for and is issued a new PACA license by USDA.
Additionally, the company’s principal, Tareq Damra, may not be employed by or affiliated with any PACA licensee until July 12, 2024, and then only with the posting of a USDA approved surety bond.
This link provides the list of companies that have violated PACA.
This week, the USDA announced it restricted three other PACA violators in Illinois, New Jersey and Texas from operating in the produce industry.
These businesses and individuals are:
- August Battaglia, doing business as QMP Sales, operating out of Westmont, IL, for failing to pay a $2,575 award in favor of a California seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, August J. Battaglia was listed as the sole proprietor of the business.
- Miami Growers Inc., operating out of Jersey City, NJ, for failing to pay a $31,680 award in favor of a Florida seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Bhavin Hajariwala and Kantibhai V. Patel were listed as the officers, directors and/or major stockholders of the business.
- Red Wagon Groves Inc., operating out of San Antonio, TX, for failing to pay a $61,363 award in favor of a Texas seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Mark A. Chang was listed as the officer, director and major stockholder of the business.
USDA is required to publish the finding that a business has committed willful, repeated and flagrant violations of PACA as well as impose restrictions against those principals determined to be responsibly connected to the business during the violation period.
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.