Food safety certifications in Mexico are beginning to separate growers into two categories, according to Javier Gonzalez, vice president of category management, ethnics, tropicals and Texas Grown at Frontera Produce, Edinburg, Texas.

“In Mexico, peppers are a huge national item, and certification at the level we require in the U.S. is not yet a requirement there,” Gonzalez said.

This means that growers have to decide whether to get certified in order to ship their product to the U.S. or to remain uncertified and keep their product in Mexico, where there is still a strong demand.

“It’s becoming a dividing line between folks in the category right now. It’s one of the things that drives decision making right now,” Gonzalez said.

Some Mexican growers have a hard time justifying the cost to be certified when they still have a strong domestic market for their crop, no certification needed.

Still, Gonzalez said that as importers to the U.S. companies are willing to accept those standards for themselves and their growing partners because it saves a lot of potential risk.