U.S. Halts Avocados from Mexico After Safety Inspector Threatened
Posted on February 16, 2022
The United States has halted shipments of avocados from Mexico after a US safety inspector received a death threat. The avocado ban has frightened guacamole fans and sent shockwaves around U.S. restaurants. There are expected to be avocado shortages and price increases as a result.
CNN reports that the U.S. official received a credible death threat after denying permission for a shipment from the Mexican state of Michoacan. This led to the USDA-APHIS temporarily suspending the state's export license for avocados.
A Fortune story says about 80% of avocados consumed in the U.S. come from Michoacan. Consumers will quickly feel the shortage with supermarkets running out of avocados rapidly. Large food chains like Chipotle could have no guacomole for customers in a few weeks according to Fortune.
There is some good news for avocado lovers in that APHIS employees have already been sent to Michoacan to work with local security officials and get the inspections back on track so shipments can resume. However, it is not known when the ban will be lifted. There was a similar threat made to a U.S. inspector in 2019 which resulted in warnings but not an outright ban.
Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has called the U.S. suspension of avocado imports a conspiracy against Mexico. However, a PBS report notes that there has been ongoing threats by cartel gangs against avocado growers in the western Mexico state of Michoacan.
An avocado farmer was recently killed by an improvised landmine set by warring cartels. The farmer drove his tractor over the mine.