MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The United States has stopped all avocado imports from Mexico until further notice, following a threat to an American plant safety inspector.
“If we don’t solve this in the next two, three weeks, it’s going to impact us for a couple of years to come,” said Chief Executive of Agtools Martha Montoya.
The threat to the inspector comes amid escalating drug cartel violence in Michoacan, where nearly 90% of the avocados the U.S. imports comes from.
Avocado prices are already much higher compared to a year ago, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
This disruption is raising concern that there could be an even bigger spike in the weeks ahead.
“I would say an avocado could go up to $5, $6 a unit,” said Montoya.
Montoya says it’s not just the consumer that will be impacted – hundreds of millions of dollars will be lost and the environment will be affected.
“Everyone in the supply chain were prepared to ship the avocados, trucks, containers, the processing plants, water, electricity, so all that carbon footprint we’ll be wasting,” said Montoya.
The U.S. government say the suspension will continue until the safety of all U.S. inspectors in Mexico is assured.
The president of Mexico said on Monday the ban is part of a conspiracy against his country.