Editorial by the Outlook’s Dave Schmidt

(2-14-22) The United States has suspended avocado imports from Mexico’s western state of Michoacan after a US Department of Agriculture’s Plant and Animal Health Inspection Service (APHIS-USDA) official received a threat.

I guess one way to bring avocados into the US would be using illegal immigrants as they continue to come across the Mexican border freely. It is a ‘shake my head‘ moment when an avocado can’t come into the US, but anybody can cross the border without retribution from law enforcement.

When just one threat to an USDA avocado inspector can suspend importing them to the US, wouldn’t you think that men and women patrolling the border have been threatened over and over again…to their face and not on a cell phone. Think about it…this your government making the rules.

The Mexican government released the following statement (in Spanish) about the suspension:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Plant and Animal Health Inspection Service (APHIS-USDA) decided to pause avocado inspection activities in Michoacán until further notice.

The U.S. health authority today informed the National Service of Health, Safety and Agrifood Quality (Senasica) that it made the determination after one of its officers, who was carrying out the inspection work in Uruapan, Michoacán, received a threat call to his official cell phone.

APHIS-USDA reported that an investigation is currently underway to assess the threat and determine the mitigation measures necessary to guarantee the physical integrity of all its personnel working in Michoacán.

He also reported that a meeting is currently being held between APHIS staff and representatives of the Association of Avocado Producers and Packers Exporters of Mexico (APEAM) with local and state police to address the issue.

It is important to comment that, according to the Work Plan for the export of Hass avocado from Mexico to the United States (PT), personnel of the US health agency inspect the avocado to be exported and, once authorized, it is mobilized to the packaging for conditioning.

Avocado producers export more than 135 thousand tons

In the last six weeks, avocado producers in Michoacán have exported more than 135,000 tons of avocado to the United States, through more than five thousand shipments of fresh fruit, reported the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

To this end, Senasica has certified 49,005 orchards with an area of 152,712 hectares to export avocado from Michoacán to that country in the season from October 15, 2021 to April 14, 2022.

Likewise, the 72 avocado packers in the state of Michoacán that meet the requirements established in the Modification of NOM-066-FITO-1995 and the Work Plan for the Export of Hass Avocado from Mexico to the United States were certified.

On the other hand, Agriculture recalled that on December 6, 2021, health authorities of both countries signed the Systems Approach Work Plan for the import of fresh hass avocado from Mexico to that market.

As a result, Senasica holds working meetings with producers and packers in the state of Jalisco to publicize and implement the phytosanitary, safety and quality requirements established by the aforementioned PT.

He indicated that, shortly, visits to the Avocado Production Units will begin to corroborate their phytosanitary status in order to be certified by the APHIS-USDA in coordination with Senasica, with which it is expected that the first avocado exports from Jalisco will be made before the end of 2022.