The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced Friday that its avocado inspection program in Michoacan, Mexico, has restarted and avocado exports to the United States have resumed following a threat against one of the U.S. inspector.

“The safety of USDA employees simply doing their jobs is of paramount importance,” the USDA said in a release. “USDA is appreciative of the positive, collaborative relationship between the United States and Mexico that made resolution of this issue possible in a timely manner.”

APHIS, working with the U.S. Embassy in Mexico’s Regional Security Officer, Mexico’s national plant protection organization (SENASICA), and the Association of Avocado Producers and Packers Exporters of Mexico (APEAM) have enacted additional measures that enhance safety for APHIS’ inspectors working in the field, following a threat made to an employee on Feb. 11.

In 2021, the United States imported $3 billion avocados globally, with $2.8 billion coming from Mexico. In terms of volume, the United States imported 1.2 million metric tons of avocados, with 1.1 million coming from Mexico. For the last full calendar year (2020) of available data, Mexico reported exports of avocados of $3.2 billion of which 79 percent went to the United States.

Mexico and the United States will continue working together to fortify the strong bilateral supply chains that promote economic growth and prosperity in both countries, according to U.S. officials.

“Mexico and the United States will continue working together to fortify the strong bilateral supply chains that promote economic growth and prosperity in both countries,” the USDA said.

The threat to an avocado inspector is not the first time food safety has been impacted by the criminal cartels that control Mexico and, some say, the entire U.S.-Mexico border. Outbreaks  traced back to Mexico sometimes are delayed or dropped  when cartel dangers are  too great.

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