U.S.D.A. Suspends Avocado Inspections in Mexico, Citing Security Concerns

U.S.D.A. Suspends Avocado Inspections in Mexico, Citing Security Concerns

Security concerns for agency workers have led the United States Agriculture Department to suspend its inspections of avocados and mangos imported from Mexico “until further notice,” the U.S.D.A. said on Monday.

Produce already cleared for export will not be affected by the decision, but avocado supplies in the United States, which mostly come from the Mexican state of Michoacán, could eventually be affected if the inspections are not resumed.

The inspections “will remain paused until the security situation is reviewed and protocols and safeguards are in place,” a U.S.D.A. spokesman said in an email.

The agency did not say what had prompted the security concerns. But Mexican news outlets recently reported that two U.S.D.A. inspectors had been illegally detained at a checkpoint run by community members. In Michoacán, which stretches from the mountains west of Mexico City to the Pacific Ocean, some Indigenous communities have set up security patrols to defend themselves against criminal groups.

The United States Embassy in Mexico confirmed on Monday that the inspectors were no longer in detention.

“The interruption of avocado exports from Michoacán was due to an incident unrelated to the avocado industry,” Julio Sahagún Calderón, the president of Mexico’s association of avocado producers and packers, known as APEAM, said in a statement. He added that the group was working “intensively” with Mexican and U.S. authorities to resume the inspection of avocados from Michoacán.

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