Up to 80%, or $2.4 billion worth, of the United States’ annual avocado supply is at risk after Mexico confirmed U.S. officials suspended all imports following threatening messages sent to a Department of Agriculture plant safety inspector.
Now, restaurants and business owners are scrambling to secure their supply and plan ahead before the crop is "lost."
"We go through a slump every year where we're a little worried about this kind of thing with the avocados," Garces Group COO Scott Campanella told FOX Business’ Jeff Flock. "But we don't know when it's going to end this time."
"We're empathetic both to the restaurateurs in America, but also the farmers in Mexico," Campanella continued. "This crop will be lost if we don't figure this out."
Another owner said she’s willing to take avocados completely off the menu if prices hit the pits.
"We can't sell a bowl of guacamole for $20, so we just wait it out," HipCityVeg CEO Nicole Marquis added.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador claimed the move signals a trade war, part of a conspiracy to protect American producers from losing to "quality" Mexican products, according to the Associated Press.
Michoacan is the only state in Mexico fully authorized to export directly to the U.S. market. It’s also not the first time that the violence in Michoacan — where the Jalisco cartel is fighting turf wars against a collection of local gangs known as the United Cartels — has threatened avocados, the state’s most lucrative crop.
After a previous incident in 2019, the USDA had warned about the possible consequences of attacking or threatening U.S. inspectors.
Campanella noted he has enough avocados to get through the next eight to 10 days but isn’t sure how much longer the supply will last after that.
"We’ll wait and see," he said.
FOX Business’ Andrew Mark Miller contributed to this report.