Californian officials are calling for a temporary halt on stepped-up inspections of Mexican tomatoes, saying that federal inspectors who travel to Santa Cruz County for work could spread the coronavirus in local produce warehouses.
Still, their concern that people from other areas might bring the disease with them has its limits – especially when it comes to a massive road project set to begin this spring.
In a pair of nearly identical proclamations issued April 3, the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors and Nogales Mayor Arturo Garino called on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to delay a new inspection protocol for imported tomatoes. The Nogales City Council followed up by passing a similar resolution on Thursday, which Garino said sought to help the local produce industry.
“It is better to have a temporary delay to new inspections until the appropriate health and safety protocols are defined and implemented to protect the food supply of the nation, minimize impacts to productivity and protect the health of the USDA inspection officers and of the residents of Santa Cruz County against the spread of COVID-19,” the proclamations stated.
The new inspections started on April 4, bringing the United States into compliance with a trade agreement with Mexico.