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USDA Continues Avocado Inspections In Mexico After Threat To Inspector

U.S. Department of Agriculture inspectors continue to work in avocado fields in Mexico, after one inspector was “directly threatened” there this summer.

Mexico supplies most of the avocados imported into the United States. And as a part of the trade of Hass avocados, USDA employees carry out inspections in the southern state of Michoacán where those avocados are grown.

Avocado consumption in the U.S. will likely continue to grow, and Mexico will likely continue to be a key supplier, said USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue during a visit to Mexico City this week. 

“It’s almost like there can’t be a Super Bowl without avocados and guacamole,” Perdue said. 

In August, the USDA said a team of inspectors was threatened in the town of Ziracuaretiro in Michoacan,  the Associated Press reported. A U.S. Embassy spokesperson said this week that while inspections were suspended in one orchard, inspectors continue to operate in Mexico.

Jorge Valencia joined KJZZ in August 2016 as the station's first senior field correspondent based in Mexico City. His reporting focuses on the business and economics between Arizona and Mexico.Valencia previously covered the North Carolina statehouse in Raleigh for North Carolina Public Radio. He reported on a controversial law that curtailed protections for lesbian, gay and transgender people, and on voting rights and environmental policy issues. He also reported on the shooting of three Arab-American students, traveling to Turkey's border with Syria to report on a project the students had started to help Syrian refugees.Valencia began his journalism career covering crime for the Roanoke Times of Virginia and in internships with newspapers including the Wall Street Journal. He has been the recipient of multiple journalism awards for his work in radio and in newspapers. Valencia studied journalism at the University of Maryland and grew up in Bogotá, Colombia, and the suburbs of Washington, D.C.