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No More Local Guacamole? California's Avocado Industry Could Face Severe Threat

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Photo by Lucyrk in LA via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr

Photo by Lucyrk in LA via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr
If it happens, some are calling it the end of California's avocado dominance. The state's $300 million-a-year industry -- it brings the United States 90 percent of the nation's avocados, much of it from Southern California coastal areas -- has been facing competition from Peru since January. But competition is not what the industry is, at least, publicly fearing, it's what imported avocados can bring.

As the Daily News explains, the stenoma catenifer, also known as the avocado seed moth, is the problem. "Native to South America, the moth -- which burrows into the fruit to lay eggs and grow its larvae -- is currently wreaking havoc on Peruvian avocado growers," according to the paper. "And since the U.S. government began allowing imports of Peruvian avocados in January, growers fear it's just a matter of time before it arrives in the U.S. and begins destroying local crops."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says their safety guidelines will protect the local growth from the moth, but others feel it's only a matter of time before some get through inspections. Some say that if the moth was found in California the infestation could severely hurt the local industry, if not end it.

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At least one veteran California avocado farmer tells the Daily News that, although he has concerns about the moth, he feels year-round avocado demand is a good thing for the industry as a whole.

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