Feb 18, 2022 - World

U.S. resumes avocado imports from Mexico

 Avocados for sale at a market in Mexico City on Feb. 15.

Avocados for sale at a market in Mexico City on Feb. 15. Photo: Pedro Pardo/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. resumed avocado imports from Mexico after suspending them last week after a U.S. inspector in Mexico was threatened, the Department of Agriculture announced Friday.

Why it matters: Drug cartels regularly extort avocado growers in the state of Michoacan, where the inspection and threat occurred, though almost 80% of the avocados grown there went to U.S. markets in 2020 and 2021.

What they're saying: "The safety of USDA employees simply doing their jobs is of paramount importance," the department said.

  • It added that Mexican organizations implemented new measures to increase safety for U.S. inspectors working in the field.

The big picture: More than 90% of the U.S.' avocado imports came from Mexico in 2021, or roughly 1.1 million metric tons worth $2.8 billion.

  • Michoacan is the only state in Mexico fully authorized to export avocados to the U.S., so the temporary suspension effectively amounted to a pause on all imports of Mexican avocados.

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