(The Hill) – The U.S. Embassy in Mexico announced Friday that a ban on avocado imports into the U.S. has been lifted.
“I am pleased to report that today the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has determined it will immediately resume its avocado inspection program in Michoacán,” U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar wrote.
On Sunday, the U.S. suspended avocado imports from Mexico after an American plant safety inspector received a threat on his official cellphone.
The inspector received the threat after he refused to allow a shipment of avocados due to safety concerns.
Salazar did not detail what changed but said Mexico will be enacting “measures” to keep U.S. inspectors safe.
“This is possible due to the rapid response and cooperation of the governor of Michoacán, Mexico’s federal government, and the Mexican Association of Avocado Producers and Exporters (APEAM). I thank them for working with my security colleagues in the U.S. Embassy to enact the measures that ensure the safety of our APHIS inspectors in the field,” Salazar said.
The avocado industry in Michoacán has increasingly fallen victim to a drug cartel that will threaten a person or family if they don’t pay protection fees for the use of the land.
Avocado imports between Mexico and the U.S. in 2021 was a $2.8 billion industry.
The brief ban had sparked widespread fears of a shortage, as about 80 percent of avocados bought in the U.S. are imported from Michoacán, the only Mexican state authorized to export the fruit to the U.S.