THREAT From Mexico – US Takes ACTION

Security concerns have prompted the United States government to halt all agricultural inspections of mangoes and avocados from the Mexican state of Michoacan, according to officials.

A spokesman told reporters that the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Plant Health Inspection Service, which assists growers in Mexico to ensure the integrity of their agricultural supply chain in order to come into compliance with US standards—a particularly important service for those regions hoping to export their product into the United States, which represents one of the largest produce markets in the world. The Plant Health Inspection Service will, as of the announcement, suspend all inspections in Michoacan for the foreseeable future, despite the fact that Michoacan is the Mexican region that exports the most avacados to the US market. Inspections will not resume until the security situation is resolved.

The primary goal of the US inspection program is to protect US avocado growers from diseases spread to their orchards from south of the border.

Alfredo Ramirez Bedolla, the Governor of Michoacan, told reporters on Monday that authorities in Mexico were working with their counterparts in the United States to find a speedy resolution to the situation.

This isn’t the first time that this has happened. In February of 2022, USDA inspections of all Mexican avacados were halted “until further notice” when an American plant safety inspector in Michoacan received a threatening message.

That time, the ban lasted only a week.

Last year, the Mexican state of Jalisco also earned its authorization to export avocados into the US market. It was only the second state to earn that right, giving Michoacan some healthy competition.

The inspections pause won’t mean an interruption from avocado shipments to the United States from Mexico. There are already a number of pre-inspected shipments in transit from Michoacan, and once those have finished working their way through the system the US Government anticipates that exports from Jalisco will be able to pick up the slack.