Threats to U.S. inspectors has paused imports of avocados from Mexico

The U.S. has pressed pause on the import of avocados from Mexico after the attack of two inspection agents, which is going to affect supply and costs - Photo by Ben Wicks on UnSplash

An avocado shortage is likely on the horizon

Following an incident with two U.S. inspectors in Mexico, consumers’ access to avocados could soon become limited. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that two employees were attacked and detained in Michoacán, Mexico – one of the biggest exporters of avocados and mangoes. The pair was on their way to a routine inspection at the time of the attack, with reports indicating they got attacked by protestors in the street. 

“To guarantee the safety of our agricultural inspection teams, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has suspended the avocado and mango inspections in Michoacán until these security problems have been resolved,” said U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar. 

Avocado shortage and rising prices

The incident is expected to have long-term repercussions for consumers as it pertains to the supply and prices of avocados

With inspections currently on hold in Mexico, the supply of avocados coming into the U.S. is also on hold. It remains unclear right now how long this pause will last, and the longer it does, the greater supply issues will last, and the more likely that consumers will feel the burden of this at the grocery store with rising prices. 

“If this goes away quickly, it could be a little blip in the market,” Daniel Sumner, a professor of agriculture economics at UC Davis told the Los Angeles Times. “If it lasts several weeks, we will likely see many fewer avocados.” 

It’s important to note that Michoacán isn’t the only exporter of avocados. Jalisco, another Mexican territory, also exports avocados to the U.S., and the U.S. has started growing its own avocados. However, this is still likely to have an impact. 

A bad year for avocados

Prior to the suspension of avocado inspections in Michoacán, the region had been facing issues with its avocado supply due to adverse growing conditions. 

Farmers in Mexico and Peru have struggled with their avocado crops this year due to consistently rising heat waves and low rainfall. Uncertainty about the avocado supply has caused the cost of Hass avocados to rise to $66 for a 48-count. 

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