U.S.D.A. suspends, proposes to disbar P.C.A.

by Eric Schroeder
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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced it is suspending, and proposing to debar, the Peanut Corporation of America (P.C.A.) and its subsidiary Tidewater Blanching L.L.C. from doing business with the federal government. Effective immediately, the U.S.D.A. said it is excluding the P.C.A. from participating in government contracts or subcontracts, as well as federal non procurement programs. In addition, the P.C.A. has been excluded from doing business as agents or representatives of other contractors, including serving as a subcontractor to other individuals or companies doing business with the government.

The suspension will remain in effect for one year and the debarment is proposed for three years, beginning today, the U.S.D.A. said.

"The actions of P.C.A. indicate that the company lacks business integrity and business honesty, which seriously and directly hinders its ability to do business with the federal government," said David Shipman, acting administrator of the U.S.D.A.’s Agricultural Marketing Service.

After receiving its letter of suspension and proposed debarment, the P.C.A. will have 30 days to respond.

In a separate action, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack removed Stewart Parnell, president and chief executive officer of the P.C.A., as a member of the U.S.D.A.’s Peanut Standards Board. The board advises the secretary on quality and handling standards for domestic and imported peanuts marketed in the United States. Board members are expected to conduct themselves appropriately as appointees of the federal government to serve their industry and the public.

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