Security Issues Halt Avocado Inspections To USA

Hello everyone! Today, let’s dive into a pressing issue that’s making waves in the agriculture world. The United States Agriculture Department (USDA) has put a halt on inspecting avocados and mangos imported from Mexico due to security concerns. This decision, announced on Monday, could have a significant impact on avocado supplies in the United States. Let’s break down what’s happening and why it’s a big deal.

First off, produce that’s already been cleared for export won’t be affected by this decision. But here’s the catch: most avocados in the U.S. come from the Mexican state of Michoacán. If inspections don’t resume soon, we could see a shortage of avocados, which might lead to higher prices at the grocery store.

So, what’s behind these security concerns? The USDA hasn’t given specific details, but Mexican news outlets have reported that two USDA inspectors were illegally detained at a checkpoint. This checkpoint was run by local community members in Michoacán, where some Indigenous communities have taken up arms to protect themselves from criminal groups. The U.S. Embassy in Mexico has confirmed that the inspectors are no longer detained.

Julio Sahagún Calderón, president of Mexico’s avocado producers and packers association (APEAM), clarified that the suspension of inspections was due to an incident unrelated to the avocado industry. He emphasized that APEAM is working closely with both Mexican and U.S. authorities to get the inspection process back on track. Lupita Mirón, an APEAM spokeswoman, pointed out that without these inspections, there can be no exports, which could spell trouble for the avocado supply chain.

This isn’t the first time USDA inspectors have faced dangers in Michoacán. In 2022, the U.S. temporarily blocked avocado imports from Mexico after a safety inspector received a verbal threat. That ban was quickly lifted after Mexico implemented additional safety measures.

The cartels in Michoacán are not just fighting over the drug trade; they’re also trying to control the lucrative avocado industry. Avocado orchards and packing houses must be certified by both Mexican authorities and USDA inspectors to export to the U.S. This certification is crucial, and without it, the avocado export industry comes to a standstill.

The USDA is committed to resuming inspections as quickly as possible. They’ve assured us that avocados and mangos already in transit won’t be affected, as they have already been inspected.

The popularity of avocados has also brought environmental concerns in Mexico. Avocado orchards have been expanding into protected areas, leading to deforestation and depletion of water resources. According to a report by Climate Rights International, by March 2023, over 50,000 avocado orchards in Michoacán had been certified for export.

So folks, while we wait for inspections to resume, it’s important to recognize the complex issues surrounding our beloved avocados. From security concerns and cartel influence to environmental impact, there’s a lot more to consider than just guacamole at our next gathering. Stay tuned for more updates as this situation unfolds!