MEXICO CITY - The U.S. Embassy announced Friday that Washington is lifting a ban on inspections of Mexican avocados, freeing the way for exports to resume.
Ambassador Ken Salazar said in a statement the decision came after Mexico and the United States agreed "to enact the measures that ensure the safety" of agricultural inspectors who are in charge of making sure Mexican avocados don’t carry diseases or pests that would harm U.S. orchards.
The inspections were halted last week after one of the U.S. inspectors was threatened in the western state of Michoacan, where growers are routinely subject to extortion by drug cartels.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Thursday that the inspector had received a threat "against him and his family."
It said the inspector had "questioned the integrity of a certain shipment, and refused to certify it based on concrete issues."
Michoacan is the only Mexican state certified as pest-free and able to export avocados to the U.S. market. There have been frequent reports that some packers in Mexico are buying avocados from other, non-certified states, and trying to pass them off as being from Michoacan.