Avocado ban is a toast. US officials announced on Friday that imports from Mexico had resumed, following a temporary ban that stemmed from a threat against a US agricultural inspector.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (Aphis) said avocado inspections in Michoacán, Mexico, have restarted, allowing imports to follow.
US officials said the threat was made on February 11. Mexico’s agriculture department said an inspector received a threatening message on his phone.
Aphis said inspection officials are now “working closely” with a security officer from the U.S. Embassy, Mexico’s National Plant Protection Organization and the Association of Producers and Exporters of Olive Oil. avocados from Mexico.
He added that he had “adopted additional measures which improve the safety of… inspectors working in the field”.
“The safety of USDA employees simply doing their jobs is of paramount importance,” the agency said. “The USDA appreciates the positive collaborative relationship between the United States and Mexico that made possible the timely resolution of this issue.”
Michoacán is the only state in Mexico with a permit to export avocados to the United States. Mexican growers and packers say they are frequent targets of violence and threats from organized crime.
In 2021, the United States imported $3 billion worth of avocados, including $2.8 billion from Mexico. That equates to 1.2 million metric tons of butterfruit, 1.1 million tons from Mexico.
Mexican avocado exports total $3.2 billion. About 80% of these exports are destined for the United States.
“Mexico and the United States will continue to work together to strengthen the strong bilateral supply chains that support economic growth and prosperity in both countries,” U.S. officials said.