Home News USDA avocado inspectors to begin returning to Mexican packing plants

USDA avocado inspectors to begin returning to Mexican packing plants

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U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar Announce Inspections of avocados and mangoes by U.S. Department of Agriculture workers will “gradually” resume in the western Mexican state of Michoacan on Friday.

It is unclear when this will happen. Mr Salazar seemed to suggest Security issues leading to suspension The problems from last weekend have not yet been fully resolved.

“Further efforts are needed to ensure their safety before full operations can begin,” he said in a statement, referring to USDA inspectors.

The U.S. Embassy in Mexico said on Tuesday that two workers from the agency’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service were attacked and detained while traveling in Michoacan state while inspecting avocado groves and packing plants — a necessary step to ensure that fruit exported to the United States is free of pests.

The embassy confirmed that the employees were later released. But a USDA spokesperson told The New York Times that the incident led to the suspension of U.S. inspections of avocados and mangoes imported from Mexico “until the security situation is reviewed and protocols and safeguards are in place.”

Earlier this week, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador promise Improvements to safety measures for inspectors, it added, were “being sought to reach an agreement”.

But he complained that the United States was sometimes quick to take “unilateral steps,” such as the recent suspension. “We are trying to convince them to act differently, but it will take time,” he said.

The move has raised concerns among producers in Michoacan, which accounts for 73% of Mexico’s avocado production. Jalisco, the only other Mexican state allowed to export avocados, accounts for 12% of total production. supply It accounts for approximately 90% of all avocado imports into the United States.

“We have not seen yet what the authorities are going to do to prevent this from happening again,” Juan Carlos Anaya, general manager of a Mexican agricultural consulting group, said in a radio interview this week.

This is not the first time the United States has raised security concerns about its Agriculture Department inspectors in Michoacan, where criminal groups have been trying to infiltrate the avocado industry, a lucrative export market.

With the cartel’s strong involvement, meeting the growing demand for avocados in the United States has become a challenge. High cost: threats, kidnappings and killings, and Large-scale deforestationbringing devastating damage to Michoacan.

In 2022, the United States Temporary ban The U.S. government has decided to stop importing avocados from Mexico after a plant safety inspector in Michoacan state received threatening information. Release Exports resumed shortly thereafter.

The governor of Michoacan state, Alfredo Ramírez Bedolla, also Announce USDA inspectors will gradually resume work on Friday.

“We will continue to work hard to comply with regulations and ensure they are safe and secure while they work,” he said. “We hope that soon there will be good news and the export of avocados and mangoes, which Michoacan communities and families depend on, will resume.”

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