Jan 23, 2018
USDA cites Florida’s J&R Fresh Produce for failure to pay

J&R Fresh Produce LLC, operating out of Tampa, Fla. has been cited by the USDA for failure to pay for produce.

The company failed to pay $281,225 to seven sellers for 30 lots of produce which were purchased, received and accepted in interstate commerce from August 2015 to June 2016, according to a news release from U.S. Department of Agriculture. Non-payment is in violation of the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA).

The USDA earlier had filed an administrative action against J&R Fresh Produce LLC. Now, the citation, announced Jan. 23, 2018, finds the business committed “willful, repeated and flagrant violations of PACA.”

As a result of the citation, J&R cannot operate in the produce industry until Jan. 10, 2020, when it may reapply for a PACA license. The company’s principal, Shaheed Ackbar, may not be employed by or affiliated with any PACA licensee until Jan. 10, 2019, and then only with the posting of an approved surety bond, according to the USDA.

The PACA Division of USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service regulates fair trading practices. Produce businesses operating subject to PACA include buyers, sellers, commission merchants, dealers and brokers within the fruit and vegetable industry.

In the past three years, USDA resolved approximately 3,400 PACA claims involving more than $58 million, according to the USDA. PACA staff also assisted more than 8,500 callers with issues valued at approximately $151 million.

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