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The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is temporarily halting inspections of certain fruits from a high-producing Mexican province over safety concerns.

The USDA confirmed the news to Fox Business on Tuesday. The pause affects avocado and mango exports from the Mexican state of Michoacán.

The USDA disclosed that the decision was made due to “security concerns” for Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) workers. The agency is working on reviewing the security situation before the inspections begin again.

According to the USDA, Mexican exports are not blocked and the temporary pause in inspections will not affect mango and avocados in transit.

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The USDA did not close the specific reason for its decision, but a government source told Reuters that it was in response to an incident that happened at a pro-police protest in Paracho last week.

According to a USDA report from April, Michoacán exports the majority of Mexico’s avocados. The country exported 1,933,325 metric tons of the fruits in 2023.

“While avocados are grown throughout the country, three states account for 90 percent of Mexico’s avocado production – Michoacán with 73 percent of production, Jalisco with 12 percent, and the State of Mexico with 5 percent,” the report explains.

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Split image of USDA exteriors and mangos and avocados

“Historically, Michoacán has been the leading avocado producing state, and until 2022 it was the only state eligible to export avocados to the United States.”

This is not the first time the USDA has halted inspections of produce from Michoacán. In 2022, the U.S. government suspended avocado shipments after one of its workers had received a threatening call.

Workers sorting avocados

Michoacán has had long-standing issues with gang violence. Last year, the Mexican government sent more than 1,200 troops to the state to address ongoing violence from drug cartels.

Reuters contributed to this report.

For more Lifestyle articles, visit foxbusiness.com/lifestyle.

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