Avocados at the grocery store could go up in price or may even become harder to find.
The U.S. is temporarily halting the import of avocados from Mexico after a U.S. official received a threatening call.
The U.S. plant safety inspector was working in the Mexican state of Michoacán when he received the call on his official cell phone, Mexico’s Agriculture Department said.
Avocado exports are the latest victim of the drug cartel turf battles and extortion of avocado growers in Michoacán, the only state in Mexico fully authorized to export to the U.S. market.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is assessing the threat and looking into whether it needs to take other measures to protect workers in Michoacán.
Avocados that are already in American grocery stores may become more expensive simply because there is uncertainty about when the ban will be lifted.
According to Avocados From Mexico, 2.5 billion pounds of the fruit were exported from Mexico to the U.S. in 2018.
The U.S. is the second-largest avocado producer, after Mexico, with 90% of production happening in California.
Growers in California harvest about 400 million pounds of avocados each year, according to Colorado State University’s Food Source Information.