(April 29) More than 2½ years have passed since the Hunts Point Terminal Market bribery scandal broke, and produce shippers, who lost an estimated $44 million to $100 million from the tainted inspections, remain forgotten.

Yes, as the U.S. Department of Agriculture says, 841 reparation complaints have been filed. Fifty-nine cases have been decided, and 11 hearings are pending. Those 841 complaints sought $17 million. Cases seeking $14 million are closed. Story, Page A3

But even the USDA admits the resolution of the complaints has been less than satisfactory.

“Our goal is to settle 85% within the first four months. In these cases, it hasn’t worked out at near that rate of success,” said Bruce Summers, acting chief of the USDA’s Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act branch. “These cases have not settled well.”

That’s an understatement.

Unfortunately, it’s also understandable. Many cases have been dismissed for several reasons, including the cost of pursuing the claim, companies going out of business and the fact that many sales went through middlemen.

What isn’t understandable is the government’s refusal to share responsibility and liability in this matter. Let’s not forget that the inspectors who solicited bribes from Hunts Point wholesalers were employees of the USDA.

That’s not to say Congress hasn’t taken steps to right the inspection system.

It has, most notably by approving a $71 million package for training inspectors and technological upgrades and by capping licensing and inspection fees.

But until Congress approves direct compensation to the shippers, the victims of the Hunts Point bribery scandal, this matter will remain unresolved and the inspection system will remain tainted.