Firm fined over HPA breach
THE ACCC has revealed that a Sydney fruit and vegetable wholesaler has become the first business to pay a $10,500 infringement notice for an alleged breach of the Horticulture Code, which was updated in 2017 to include penalties for non-compliance.
Stuart Dickson Produce Pty Ltd (Stuart Dickson) was issued with the infringement notice for allegedly trading with a grower in horticulture produce without having a written horticulture produce agreement (HPA) in place.
Stuart Dickson’s alleged non-compliance with the 2017 Horticulture Code came to light following a compliance check the ACCC conducted with 15 fruit and vegetable wholesalers which revealed Stuart Dickson did not have a HPA in place with a significant number of growers.
“A wholesaler trading with growers without written HPAs increases growers’ commercial risks, as they do not have certainty regarding critical terms of trade, such as how their produce will be graded, the price they will get paid and when they will get paid,” ACCC deputy chairman Mick Keogh said.
Horticulture wholesalers have been required since 2006 to have written agreements with growers.