WASHINGTON, Feb. 17, 2010 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture has cited B.T. Produce Co. Inc., operating in Bronx, N.Y., for willful, repeated, and flagrant violations of the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA).
As a result, the company cannot operate in the produce industry until Nov. 4, 2011, and then only if it obtains a PACA license.
The company made illegal payments to a USDA inspector in connection with 42 inspections of perishable agricultural commodities, which B.T. Produce Co. Inc. purchased, received, and accepted in interstate and foreign commerce during the period of March 1999 through August 1999.
After hearing and appeal procedures through the U.S. court of appeals, USDAs decision and order became final and effective on Nov. 4, 2009.
The companys principals, Louis R. Bonino and Nat Taubenfeld, may not be employed by or affiliated with any PACA licensee until Nov. 4, 2010, and Nov. 7, 2010, respectively, and then only with the posting of a USDA-approved surety bond.
The PACA establishes a code of good business conduct for the produce industry. Under it, all interstate traders in fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables must be licensed by USDA. USDA is authorized to suspend or revoke a traders license for violating the act.