(July 29, 9:55 a.m.) WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture and David W. Theodore, d/b/a Consolidated Farms, operating in Delhi, Calif., have entered into a consent agreement to suspend its Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act license for 30 days.

The complaint alleged that during the period Oct. 10, 2005, through June 12, 2006, Theodore violated Section 2(5) of the PACA by asserting that sweet potatoes he grew, packed, and sold from one field were certified organic before having completed the organic certification process. The complaint further alleged that he violated Section 9 of the PACA by failing to maintain proper records. Theodore answered that the Section 2(5) violations were unintentional and denied that he failed to maintain proper records.

In the consent agreement, David Theodore admits to the violation of Section 2(5) and has agreed to a 30-day suspension of his license. He may not operate in the produce industry from July 23 until Aug. 22.

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 trader's license for violating the act.