PolitiFact Check: Would The U.S. Run Out Of Avocados If The Mexico Border Is Closed?

Apr 5, 2019

Credit frutidor.com

Avocados are just one of many foods America imports from Mexico.

But with worries about a possible border closure this week, news outlets whipped up fears that this high-demand fruit could run out.

Capital Public Radio’s PolitiFact reporter Chris Nichols reporter found this topic was ripe for a fact check:

President Trump appears to have backed away from his threat to shut down the border. But just days ago, he warned that Mexico had to stop people from illegally entering the United States …

01Trump: “And if they don’t stop ‘em, we’re closing the border. We’ll close it. And we’ll keep it closed for a long time. I’m not playing games.” (:08)

The U.S. gets more than 40 percent of its fruits and vegetables from Mexico. But news outlets and late night comedians focused mainly on the fate of one creamy green fruit.

01Colbert: “If imports from Mexico were stopped today, Americans would run out of avocados in three weeks.” (:07)

Is that really true? What about California’s avocado growers? Couldn’t they step in and replace the lost supply?

UC Davis ag economist Dan Sumner says America now imports 80 percent of its avocados, most of them from Mexico. California, which once provided a much larger share, contributes less that 20 percent. 

04Sumner: “We would have vastly fewer avocados. There’s just not enough in California to satisfy what the country’s gotten used to consuming.” (:07)

Sumner agreed that most avocados would run out in a matter of weeks, though not all.  

Prices would spike, he says, and there would probably be some very expensive avocados left over.

In the end, the news headlines and even the comedians got this one just about right.

We rated it Mostly True.

In Sacramento, I’m Chris Nichols