HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Avocados imported from Mexico have been indefinitely banned in the United States after an American inspector received death threats while in Mexico.
The ban started on Saturday, and the impact is already being felt at some local restaurants and small grocery stores.
Gerson Polanco, owner of El Super grocery store in Socastee, said a shipment of 96 avocados he received Tuesday should last through Saturday. The supply past this weekend is in jeopardy, he said.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Polanco was interviewed in Spanish with answers translated into English by Manny Martinez.
“Right now we don’t know,” Gerson said. “It could possibly take a month or two before there’s a solution.”
Polanco said he’s had to source avocados from outside of Mexico before, turning to those coming from California.
“If, by chance, there are avocados, they’ll be really expensive and probably won’t be the same quality,” he said, adding that prices were already high before the ban. There was a 30% in the last week, he said.
“We’re a long way from Mexico, but we’re feeling the impacts here directly in our pockets,” he said.
At Punta Cana Dominican Grill in Myrtle Beach, the ban on imported Mexican avocados has Fausto Donastorg worried. He said his supplier, Mexico Central, told him his supply for next week isn’t guaranteed.
Donastorg’s restaurant relies heavily on avocados, as they complement many of the meals on the menu.
“In every plate, in every one of the meals, this is it,” Dornastorg said.
Donastorg said being without avocados for any length of time will hurt his bottom line.
“It will be a direct impact about the sales, about the people, and the customer’s satisfaction,” Dornastorg said.
Donastorg said he hopes the ban is lifted soon but knows there’s nothing he can do but wait it out.
“I don’t know what really I can do,” he said.