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FDI Files Supreme Court brief to preserve standard industry practices through PACA

Food Distributors International (FDI), Falls Church, VA, has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to preserve many legitimate, off-invoice practices that food distributors and produce dealers engage in regularly. The long-standing practices, recognized in the 1995 amendments to the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA), have been "impinged upon" by determinations made by USDA regarding commercial bribery, according to FDI.

In an "amicus curiae" (friend of the court) brief filed with the Supreme Court, FDI is asking the court to hear the case of JSG Trading Corp. vs. the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and, in judgement, uphold the collateral fee practices that are expressly permitted under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA).

"FDI is concerned that the decision in JSG Trading II (the abbreviated name of the case), if left unaddressed by this Court, will materially disrupt the everyday business practices of the perishable agricultural commodities industry and invite standardless investigations contrary to the industry's reasonable expectations as defined by PACA and the regulations thereunder," the FDI brief says.

"The Court should consider this case, because USDA has brought this action under an exceedingly broad definition of commercial bribery that threatens to bring into question many legitimate, off-invoice practices that food distributors and produce dealers engage in regularly," explains David French, FDI vice president for government relations. "It is our contention that Congress specifically considered these issues and determined that such collateral fees are expressly permitted under PACA."

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