Culture

Here’s Why the US Is Suspending Avocado Imports From Mexico

The price of avocados might increase for a strange reason. On Saturday the Mexican government announced that avocado imports to the U.S. had been indefinitely suspended because a health inspector received threats possibly from drug cartels involved in the avocado industry.

According to a press release by the Mexican Department of Agriculture, a health inspector from the United States Department of Agriculture received a threatening text when visiting an avocado facility in the city of Uruapan, Michoacán. 

The U.S. Embassy in Mexico commented on the incident via twitter, stating “Facilitating the export of Mexican avocados to the US and ensuring the safety of our agricultural inspection teams go hand in hand. We are working with the Mexican government to guarantee security conditions that allow our personnel in Michoacán to resume operations.” 

The suspension comes after another USDA inspector was directly threatened in Ziracuaretiro, Michoacán, back in 2019. Following that incident, the USDA said if any other inspectors were threatened, they would halt imports of the product. 

Over the past few years, the Mexican avocado industry has grown increasingly dangerous due to the involvement of drug cartels in the business. According to the Los Angeles Times, Mexican drug cartels have taken a liking to the industry because of the massive profits generated. Cartels will sometimes force Michoacán communities to give up land and pick the crop at gunpoint in order to keep up with growing demand. 

The suspension is bad news for the Mexican avocado industry, who over the past few weeks have imported 135 thousand tons of avocados to the United States. The Mexican avocado trade association “Avocados From Mexico” even bought a pricey ad for Sunday’s Super Bowl, an ad that featured a group of ancient Romans coming together to enjoy some guacamole. 

Despite the news, you can still enjoy guacamole and that extra aguacate on your tacos because avocados also grow in California, and other countries like Colombia export them to the United States. Although the price might be raised now due to the lack of supply. 

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