The U.S. announced a few days ago that it’s temporarily banning avocado imports from Mexico after an American produce safety inspector in Michoacán received a threatening phone call. No further details about the threat were made available. Nearly 80% of avocados come from Mexico.
This could be good news for California avocado growers, but at the same time, the buttery fruit doesn’t last long, says Leslie Patton, reporter at Bloomberg News. “It’s a just-in-time type of thing. It’s not like you can quickly grow extra and ship them all over. … When you’re thinking about produce and commodities, especially the fresh side, the demand is fairly inelastic, meaning the amount we eat is pretty much the same year in and year out.”
Instead of the U.S., where might Mexico send their avocados? “I would imagine a lot of them could just be rotting, whether that’s out in the fields at the actual farm level, or on a truck waiting at the border, or in some distribution warehouse,” she says. “It’s a sad reality that happened at the beginning of the pandemic too when restaurants shut down. All of these big restaurant distributors had large amounts of fresh food, and a lot of that just went bad.”