By Brandon Demack, ALC McAllen
On the Saturday before Super Bowl Sunday, avocado imports from Mexico into America were put to a complete halt after threatening messages were sent to a United States plant safety inspector’s official phone.
The avocado industry is another victim of the turf battle between the cartels in the western parts of Michoacán and will put a strain on avocado imports into the United States for the foreseeable future. The U.S. health inspector was carrying out inspections in Michoacán when the threat was received, but luckily for consumers, it was the day before the Super Bowl so all shipments of avocados for Super Bowl parties and restaurants were already shipped and weren’t affected.
Avocados are considered “green gold” in Mexico, as it is a multibillion-dollar business and the industry even broke records in 2020 to become the world’s largest producer of “green gold.” Unfortunately, however, as the growth continues to rise, so does the threats from the nine identified cartels operating in the area.
In response to the issues going on with cartels, farmers have been starting to arm themselves and establish self-defense groups to combat this to the reluctance of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. This violence and issues in Michoacán will hopefully subside sooner than later.
The U.S. responded to the threatening messages by putting more security measures in place for inspectors. On February 18, 2022, it was announced that the inspection of avocados in Michoacán would resume. The rapid response to the threat shows the importance of a working supply chain between Mexico and the U.S.
It would have been hard to fill the large gap left by the lack of avocados coming from Mexico. Mexico provides around 80% of avocados consumed in the U.S. and a longer ban would have drastically impacted the supply of avocados in the U.S. With the resumption of imports, consumers do not have to worry about a shortage or price hikes and can continue to enjoy avocados.
Brandon Demack has been with the Allen Lund Company since July 2011. He first started in the Dallas office and in March of 2019 he transferred to the McAllen office becoming the operations manager of produce. Demack attended the University of North Texas with a Bachelor of Science in Logistics and Supply Chain Management.