Right on the eve of the Superbowl- which for avocado growers is the biggest sales opportunity of the year, the Mexican government confirmed that the US suspended all imports of Mexican avocados. The suspension comes after a U.S. plant safety inspector in Mexico received a threatening message.

According to PBS News Hour, Avocados are the latest to fall victim to the drug cartel turf battles and extorsion of avocado growers in the Western state of Michoacan. Michoacan is the only state in Mexico that is fully authorized to export to the US.

The ban on Mexican avocado did not affect those that have already been shipped to the US, therefore not affecting avocado supply for the Superbowl.

The Mexico Department of Agriculture said the ban is placed “until further notice.”

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Mexico’s Role in Avocado Production

Over the last two decades, the demand for avocados has been increasing. To help support this growing demand year-round, the US imports its avocados. According to a USDA report, by 2018, Mexico accounted for 89 percent of fresh avocado imports. In 2020, the US imported $2.4 billion in avocados, with most of that being from Mexico.

Photo by Hitoshi Namura on Unsplash
Photo by Hitoshi Namura on Unsplash

Shipments of avocados from Mexico can be found in all 50 states now. Since the US is also a grower of avocados, U.S. inspectors work in Mexico to ensure no diseases are brought into the US through an avocado.

Just in the past six weeks, Michoacan avocado producers exported more than 135,000 tons of avocados to the US.

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