Press Release

U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Salazar Says Mexican Avocados Grown Illegally Shouldn’t be Exported to U.S., Comes After Welch-Led Letter to Administration Urging Action to Address Illegal Deforestation

Feb 29, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C.—This week, U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar said during a visit to Mexico’s top avocado-producing state that Mexican avocado exporters “shouldn’t have the opportunity to sell those avocados to the United States market.” The Governor of Michoacán added that Mexico will soon implement an export protocol for avocados that includes traceability back to the orchard, to ensure avocados imported are not imported from deforested land. This follows a letter from U.S. Senator Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and a group of colleagues earlier this month to the Department of State, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Trade Representative requesting more information about the Administration’s efforts to address illegal deforestation and unsustainable water use linked to avocados imported from Mexico.  

“I am encouraged by Ambassador Salazar’s remarks in support of stopping imports of Mexican avocados grown on illegally deforested land, as well as the commitment by Michoacán Governor to track exports and have better traceability mechanisms. This is consistent with both countries’ efforts to combat climate change, and is in the interest of American consumers and members of the Indigenous communities of Michoacán and Jalisco who are at risk for defending their forests and water,” said Sen. Welch.  

The letter—sent in early February ahead of the Super Bowl, which marks the largest day of consumption of avocados in America—was led by Sen. Welch and signed by Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.). 

Two states in Mexico—Michoacán and Jalisco—supply nearly 90% of the avocados consumed in the United States, and avocado production on illegally deforested land in these states has had a devastating effect on the environment and local communities. Indigenous leaders and others defending the forests and water have been threatened, attacked, and killed

Read and download the full text of the letter here