Wal-Mart, the Made in the USA company, is facing $156,000 in fines from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture for illegally importing avocados from Mexico. According to the government, Wal-Mart shipped the Mexican fruit into US states where no restrictions are imposed on such imports, but then shipped the same fruit to southern and midwest states where avocados are not allowed because of efforts to prevent plant pests and diseases. “These are very serious charges,” one USDA official told Reuters news. “Shipping imported Mexican avocados against regulations could spread plant pests and jeopardize US agriculture.” A Wal-Mart spokesman responded that “We would never knowingly or willfully do anything to violate the USDA regulations.” In other words, Wal-Mart unknowingly and unwillfully shipped nearly 700 cartons of illegal avocados into states like Iowa, Tennessee and Missouri over several months. Apparently US avocado growers were not producing what Wal-mart wanted, or at the price Wal-Mart wanted, because the company knowingly was buying Mexican fruit instead of American avocados.
Wal-Mart customers get the fruit, American farmers get the pits. Now that the USDA has declared Wal-Mart in violation of the federal Plan Pest Act, how long will it be before Congress decides to pass a Retail Pest Act? American consumers are advised to stay away from Wal-Mart’s illegal avocados. While you’re at it, why not stay away from superstores in general? Look for American avocados at a store near you!