Mexican avocado packinghouse to bolster shipments

07/31/2013 11:23:00 AM
Doug Ohlemeier

Pharr, Texas-based Mevi Avocados is packing avocados at a new facility in Ciudad Guzman in the state of Jalisco, Mexico, and althought the fruit — marketed by The Oppenheimer Group — isn’t allowed in the U.S. yet, the company is hopeful that will change soon.

Mevi Avocados is packing avocados at a new facility in Ciudad Guzman in the state of Jalisco, MexicoMevi AvocadosMevi Avocados is packing avocados at a new facility in Ciudad Guzman in the state of Jalisco, Mexico.The facility officially opened July 13 and its 35-container-a-week packing capacity is expected to expand when Mevi finishes construction of a second packing line in several months, according to a news release.

At this time, Mevi ships the Jalisco avocados domestically and to Asian markets.

Avocados grown and packed by the company in the adjacent state of Michoacan are sold by Oppy, Vancouver, British Columnbia, in the U.S.

Growers in Jalisco have been lobbying the USDA to approve phytosanitary protocols to allow shipments to the U.S. Mevi and Oppenheimer expect the U.S. will soon approve the shipments, said Karin Gardner, Oppy marketing communications manager.

She said the facility is positioned for packing and shipping U.S.-bound fruit once the clearance occurs.

The packinghouse features cold storage and offices for quality assurance personnel and USDA inspectors, according to a news release.

Mevi Avocados  Outside the packinghouse, an automated irrigation system nourishes the grower’s 1,700 acres of avocados.

“The new facility represents a significant investment in putting fruit condition and quality at the forefront,” said James Milne, Oppy’s avocado category director. “We look forward to the opportunity to sell the fruit packed there, and we applaud the Medina’s proactive approach.”

The plant’s location also provides Mevi access to Asian markets via the nearby port city of Manzanillo, according to the release.

After years of growing strawberries, sugarcane and corn, the Medina family, which owns and operates Mevi, began growing avocados in 1974 when Javier Medina Sr. planted his first trees.

Medina oversees operations and his son Javier works with Oppy on marketing and sales, according to the release. Oppy avocado category managers Mike Kostick and Jeff Walker and category analyst Rodrigo Lopez were at the facility’s grand opening, along with local dignitaries.



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Sandy Robinson    
Redland, Florida 33031  |  August, 02, 2013 at 01:45 AM

With all this fanfare of more imports of Mexican Avocado shipments and the question of food safety into the the US, what is the plan and safeguards if an outbreak of contaminated food is found??? Will it be traceable to its origin in a manner that's comparable to the USA?

Chris Koger    
Lenexa, KS  |  August, 02, 2013 at 04:00 PM

Sandy, As always, it depends on each company, not an industry/country as a whole ... just as it would with a U.S. company (no lack of examples here, unfortunately). But to address your specific question, to my knowledge, there's been no recall of a Mexican avocado for food safety reasons since the U.S. border re-opened in 1997. By its nature, the avocado carries a low risk. Most Mexican packinghouses have direct U.S. trading partners, and some are owned by U.S. companies, and follow the same protocols as they do in the U.S. U.S. consumers have no reason to doubt the safety of Mexican avocados any more than Fla./Calif. fruit. Chris Koger News Editor.

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