US avocado inspectors stop work in Mexican state over ‘security situation’

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The US paused safety inspections for avocados and mangos from the Mexican state of Michoacán due to a security incident involving US department of agriculture (USDA) staff, a spokesperson for the agency said.

The spokesperson said avocados and mangos already in transit from Michoacán would not be affected but further inspections were suspended “until further notice”.

A prolonged suspension to avocado inspections in particular could cause a significant hit to one of Mexico’s top farm exports to the US.

“The [safety inspection] programmes will remain paused until the security situation is reviewed and protocols and safeguards are in place,” the USDA spokesperson said.

A government source in Michoacán told Reuters the temporary suspension was triggered on Saturday after an incident at a protest in support of local police in the municipality of Paracho.

On Monday, the Michoacán governor, Alfredo Ramirez, told reporters he had been in constant contact with US officials since Sunday, giving them a “guarantee” that proper export conditions from the state were in place.

Mexico’s agriculture ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In 2022, US officials temporarily suspended avocado shipments from Michoacán, a state with longstanding problems with gang violence, also citing security problems faced by inspectors.


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