On July 3, 1995 the USDA published a proposal in the Federal Register to amend the long-standing quarantine that prohibits the movement of fresh Mexican avocados into the U.S.
This proposal would allow Mexican avocados into the U.S. under certain conditions, and it MUST BE CHALLENGED.
Mexican Pressure Since 1985
The Mexican industry, with significant help from the Mexican government has sought persistently ,since the mid 1980's to convince our government and USDA to lift the long-standing quarantine which prohibits the movement of fresh Mexican avocados in the U.S. These efforts were continually rejected by USDA which held firmly to its official position policy at this time revolved around Exclusion-keeping pests out at all costs.
USDA's plant pest protection philosophy began to evolve in the late 1980s and into the early 1990s. The Department softened its Exclusion position as the Mexican side pushed harder and harder for market access. When the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) debate started to gain momentum in the early 1990s,USDA shifted to a plant protection philosophy called "SYSTEMS"... a series of safeguards,no one of which is sufficient to guarantee plant security,but together supposedly create an acceptable comfort level for producers in the destination country.
FREE TRADE ?
Inherent in the SYSTEMS plan is the acceptance of more infestation risk in exchange for an increase in trade because of the NEW WORLD ORDER that spawned NAFTA. We countered by arguing against changes to the quarantine that were NOT backed up with sound science and based solely on moves to facilitate Free Trade. CAC also tripled the size and and experience of its government affairs team and enlisted the support of top scientists around the country to monitor and respond to each new threat from the Mexicans and the USDA.
Those efforts were largely successful against tough odds, but it soon became clear that we couldn't unring the NAFTA bell and the euphoric rush to facilitate trade. But we didn't let up at all as we demanded answers to this question about the science.. WHAT ABOUT THOSE PESTS? What about the array of pests known to infest Mexican avocados and threaten out $1 Billion industry?