The U.S. Department of Agriculture has cited Continental Growers Inc., Los Angeles, for failure to make full payment to 18 sellers for 76 lots of produce totaling $500,487.48, which violates the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act.

Continental cannot operate in the produce industry until Dec. 28, 2012, when it may reapply for a PACA license.

The company’s principals, Rigoberto Armienta and Felipe Sanchez, may not be employed by any PACA licensee until Dec. 28, 2011, and then only with the posting of a USDA-approved surety bond.

The PACA license for Paragon Produce LLC, Venice, Calif., also was suspended for unpaid awards, according to Red Book Credit Services.