The Government Just Temporarily Suspended Imports of This Beloved Fruit
There's already a low supply of avocados on grocery store shelves—and not because of sporting events like the Olympics and the Super Bowl. California supplies a lot of these magical fruits, but crops faced a tough year in 2021—and the effects are still being felt at supermarkets.
In recent weeks, a shortage of avocados has caused prices to skyrocket. Now, government action taken over the weekend may further disrupt an already strained supply chain.
A temporary suspension of avocado imports from Mexico went into effect on Saturday, after a U.S. plant safety inspector in the country received a threatening message on his phone, according to the Associated Press. Michoacan is the only Mexican state authorized to export avocados to the U.S., and drug cartel turf battles and extortion plots against growers are plaguing the area.
The U.S. Embassy says it is "facilitating the export of Mexican avocados to the U.S. and guaranteeing the safety of our agricultural inspection personnel go hand in hand." In addition, it is "working with the Mexican government to guarantee security conditions that would allow our personnel in Michoacan to resume operations."
However, even a short ban could cause prices to further increase. As CNN reported, "Supply chain disruptions, even small blips, can affect prices, explained Mark Campbell, founder and CEO of ProduceIQ, a digital marketplace for produce buyers and growers."
If avocados are on your shopping list right now, be prepared to pick through a lower supply and pay almost double the price versus a year ago. Not only is it costing consumers more for avocados, but it's also pricier for producers to grow them. The cost of soil and fertilizer is up across the globe, including where a chunk of this beloved fruit is imported from in South America.
Labor shortages, which have plagued food manufacturing plants amid the pandemic, are also impacting the supply of avocados. However, this year's harvest is expected to increase slightly. While the avocado import ban is only temporary, it's going to make guac cost extra for a little longer. Unfortunately, these groceries are pricier right now, too.