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US suspends inspections of avocados, mangoes in Mexico's Michoacan state over security concerns

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The United States government has suspended inspections of avocados and mangoes in the Mexican state of Michoacan due to security concerns, an official said Monday.

A U.S. government spokesperson, whose name could not be used under agency policy, said the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is pausing inspections in Michoacan, which is Mexico's biggest exporter of avocados, until the security conditions are resolved.

Inspections in other Mexican states are not affected, the spokesperson said.

Michoacan Gov. Alfredo Ramírez Bedolla told reporters Monday that Mexican authorities were in discussions with their U.S. counterparts to quickly resolve the situation.

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In February 2022, the U.S. government suspended inspections of Mexican avocados “until further notice” after a U.S. plant safety inspector in Michoacan received a threatening message. The halt was lifted after about a week.

Later that year, Jalisco became the second Mexican state authorized to export avocados to the U.S.

The pause in inspections won't block shipments of Mexican avocados to the United States, because Jalisco is now an exporter and there are a lot of Michoacan avocados already in transit, the spokesperson said.

Because the United States also grows avocados, U.S. inspectors work in Mexico to ensure exported avocados don’t carry diseases that could hurt U.S. crops.

Mark Stevenson, The Associated Press