US Suspends Avocado Imports from Mexico after Threat to Inspector

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After a U.S. agricultural inspector in the Mexican state of Michoacán received an anonymous phone call threatening his life, the United States has suspended Mexican avocado indefinitely, disrupting a $2.4 billion industry, Mexican authorities said Sunday, Feb. 13.

According to Mexico’s Agriculture Secretariat, the U..S. official received a threatening message on his cellphone, leading to the U.S. ban on avocado imports from Mexico “until further notice.”

As of Monday, Feb. 14, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) had not confirmed the move.

Michoacán is the only state in Mexico with a license to export avocados to the United States.

In 2020, the most recent year for which figures are available, Mexico exported 965 metric tons of avocados to the its northern neighbor, representing a 7 percent increase over the comparable figure for the previous year.

The United States lifted a three-year ban on Mexican avocados in 1997 after an inspection deal was struck to try to prevent weevils, scabs and other pests from entering orchards.

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