(Jan. 10) The U.S. Department of Agriculture has revoked the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA) license of Kleiman & Hochberg Inc., one of the wholesalers investigated in the undercover Operation Forbidden Fruit case at the Hunt’s Point Terminal Market, Bronx, N.Y.

The USDA in a news release said the company cannot operate in the produce industry until Dec. 7, 2009, and then only if it obtains a PACA license.

The news release said Kleiman & Hochberg made illegal payments to a USDA inspector in connection with 12 federal inspections of commodities which it purchased, received, and accepted from eight sellers in interstate or foreign commerce from March 1999 to August 1999.

The company’s principals, Randall L. Berger and John J. Thomas, may not be employed by or affiliated with any PACA licensee until Dec. 7, 2008, and then only with the posting of a USDA-approved surety bond, the USDA reported. Another principal is challenging his responsibly connected status, the news release said.