After threats and violence against inspectors in Michoacán, the United States Department of Agriculture is threatening to suspend its avocado certification program. The USDA issued a travel warning for 38 Michoacán municipalities, most of which have significant avocado production.
There are 58 USDA employees stationed in Michoacán, responsible for inspecting conditions on farms that grow avocados for export to the United States. On August 16, several of these agents were threatened by a suspected criminal gang after cancelling the certification of an avocado farm in the community of Copal in the municipality of Ziracuaretiro.
Mexiconewsdaily.com reported how last week, a group of USDA agents traveling with local authorities in Ziracuaretiro were robbed and their vehicle was stolen. After the incident, officials from the US Consulate in Guadalajara met with an association of avocado growers to demand better security for USDA agents, threatening to end the export program if the situation does not improve.