by BETTER FARMING STAFF
A Leamington food processor must follow tough conditions to keep its licence to process vegetables, the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission has ruled.
In a March 21 decision published this week, a three-member Commission panel ordered Jema International Food Products Inc. to pay the Ontario Processing Vegetable Growers $363,977.81 “and reasonable interest” by May 15. The amount represents what the company owes the provincial organization and its growers for the 2011 crop it acquired, states the decision, signed by the Commission’s vice chair, Deborah Whale. Whale chaired the panel which also included Commission members Anna Andres and Tom Richardson.
The Commission wants Jema to supply two $250,000 letters of credit issued by a Schedule “A” Canadian bank. The first is due May 18 and the second is due Aug. 1.
The Commission will revoke the company’s licence if it fails to comply with the terms and conditions.
According to the decision, the company admitted that it “failed to meet certain obligations under the Farm Products Marketing Act” in connection with the 2011 tomato crop, including failing to pay growers and deduct grower licence fees and remit them to vegetable board. The company blamed “unexpected financial circumstances” for its failure to meet its legal obligations and proposed a settlement, which the Commission approved in principle.
Franco Cammuso, listed in the decision as general manager of Jema, says four growers were affected. He says the Commission’s ruling is the “right decision for both parties.” He declined to explain the nature of the financial problem that the company experienced.
Cammuso is also managing director COO of DaVinci Foods in Montreal, which he described as a sister company to Jema.
According to its website, Jema makes pizza, pasta and tomato-based sauces and has been in business for 10 years.
A vegetable board spokesperson could not be reached for comment. BF