U.S. Suspends Avocado Imports From Mexico

February 14, 2022

The United States has suspended imports of avocados from Mexico due to threats against a US plant safety inspector in Mexico. Associated Press reported.

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

“The US health authorities … made the decision after one of their officials conducting inspections in Uruapan, Michoacán, received a threatening message on his office mobile phone,” the Mexican Department of Agriculture wrote, according to the Associated Press.

The US is inspecting Mexican avocados to make sure they don’t carry diseases across the border that could damage US crops. Inspectors work for the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

It is not yet clear how long the suspension could last. The US Embassy confirmed the import ban, stating on Twitter“We are working with the Mexican government to ensure the safety conditions that would allow our staff in Michoacán to resume work,” according to the Associated Press.

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

Avocado growers in Mexico have been targeted by drug cartels. Following a similar incident in 2019, the United States told Mexico it could suspend its import program if the safety of inspectors was not secured, the Associated Press reported.On Monday, Mexican President Andres Manuel López Obrador said the shutdown was a conspiracy against Mexico with political and economic interests. Associated Press reported.

“There are also many political interests and political interests in all this, there is competition; they don’t want Mexican avocados to go to the United States, right, because they will rule in the United States because of their quality,” Lopez Obrador said.

“There are other countries that are interested in selling avocados, as they are with other agricultural products, so they are lobbying, looking for senators, professional public relations specialists, and agencies to put up obstacles.”The Associated Press reported that about 90% of US avocado imports come from Mexico, with the US growing about half of the avocados it consumes.

Avocado Institute in Mexico says the per capita consumption of avocados in the US increased from 1.5 pounds to 7.5 pounds from 1998 to 2017.

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