The US Government Has Good News For Guacamole Lovers

If you were craving guacamole and mentally preparing for the price on your text trip to the grocery store or visit to your favorite resturant, you can rest easy. Avocado fans rejoice: the U.S. recently announced that the temporary Mexican avocado ban has been lifted after just one week.

According to The Washington Post, Mexican avocados are a more recent addition to imported fruits in the U.S., as they were previously banned over concerns that the produce could harbor pests. The decades-long ban was lifted with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994, which in part stipulated that U.S. inspectors be allowed to check produce before it is exported from Mexico. Demand for avocados started booming in the decades following NAFTA, and the industry became an essential part of Mexico's economy, to the tune of $2.8 billion in avocado exports just last year. Cartels in Mexico seized the opportunity to extort "green gold" farmers, and when a U.S. inspections official was threatened in early February, the States enacted an avocado ban until Mexico's government could ensure the safety of inspectors.

All parties recognized the potential negative impact that an avocado ban could cause — for Mexico's economy, the trade relationship, and for stateside guac fans already struggling with the high price of the popular fruit. These converging issues from both sides of the border is likely what led to such prompt response.

The avocado ban is lifted after one week

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is not messing around with its employees' safety when they're working abroad. When an American inspector working in Mexico received a threat after raising a red flag concerning a batch of avocados, the U.S. government hobbled the powerhouse import until safety measures were restored (per The New York Times).

The Times explains that Michoacán is the only region in Mexico permitted to export avocados to the United States, and its economy would've been significantly affected by the ban if it had continued for an extended period of time. Michoacán provides almost 80% of the avocados consumed in the U.S. and rakes in $3 billion in avocado exports. In an effort to find a solution to the pressing issue, The Association of Avocado Exporting Producers and Packers of Mexico said it would create an "intelligence and security unit" to safeguard the valuable trade relationship. Increased safety measures were coupled with a security plan officiated by the government of Michoacán, and both countries agreed to the proposed improvements.

Though some were raising alarm bells, the avocado ban was lifted on Monday, February 21 before any new supply issues could have a major impact on the price.