US suspends avocado imports from Mexico

February 14, 2022

The United States has stopped importing avocados from Mexico after a US security inspector was threatened in Mexico, The Associated Press reports.

The suspension began Saturday after the inspector was threatened in Michoacán, the only Mexican state authorized to export avocados to the United States.

“U.S. health authorities … made the decision after one of their officials, who conducted inspections in Uruapan, Michoacán, received a threatening message on his official cellphone,” the Mexican Department of Agriculture wrote, according to The Associated Press.

The US inspects Mexican avocados to make sure they don’t carry diseases across the border that could harm US crops. The inspectors work for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services of the United States Department of Agriculture.

It is not clear how long the suspension could last. The US embassy confirmed the import ban, saying: Twitter“We are working with the Mexican government to ensure security conditions that will allow our staff in Michoacán to resume operations,” the Associated Press said.

Mexico is promoting avocados and guacamole for the Super Bowl, but the avocados used for that Sunday game were shipped before the suspension.

Avocado growers in Mexico are targeted by drug cartels. After a similar incident in 2019, the United States told Mexico it could suspend the import program if inspectors’ safety could not be guaranteed, according to The Associated Press.

On Monday, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said the suspension was a conspiracy against Mexico through political and economic interests, The Associated Press reported.

“In all this there are also many political interests and political interests, there is competition; they don’t want Mexican avocados coming into the United States, precisely because it would rule the United States because of its quality,” said López Obrador.

“There are other countries that are interested in selling avocados, as in the case of other agricultural products, so they lobby, they look for senators, professional public (relations) people and agencies, to put up obstacles.”

About 90% of avocado imports to the US come from Mexico, according to the Associated Press, and the US grows about half of the avocados it consumes

The Avocado Institute of Mexico says that U.S. avocado consumption per capita increased from 1.5 pounds to 7.5 pounds from 1998 to 2017.

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