Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s policy to inspect every commercial truck at the border resulted in the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in spoiled produce, CNN reports.
Dante L. Galeazzi, CEO and president of the Texas International Produce Association told CNN that nearly $9 billion of fresh produce crosses the Texas border from Mexico each year. This past week that came to a halt due to Abbott’s policy that required lengthier “enhanced safety inspections” of commercial vehicles entering Texas in an effort to tackle “cartel-facilitated smuggling.”
The policy turned a trip that would usually take a few hours into one that lasted more than 30 hours.
During the longer than usual wait period, vegetables and fruits that were being transported in the trucks spoiled. Lance Jungmeyer, president of the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas told CNN that losses added up to over $240 million and that buyers across the country can expect to pay more as producers try to recoup some of their losses.
“Americans can expect to spend more on strawberries, avocados and asparagus as soon as this weekend, with the impacts being felt the heaviest in the Midwest and Northeast,” Jungmeyer said, adding, “it’s a bad time to be adding this to consumers’ pockets to pay out their pocketbook.”
“As we are speaking this moment, all these bridges are opened back up to normal trafficking,” Abbott said during a news conference. “And so, all the goods that used to go from one country to the other at a very rapid pace, they are moving at that rapid pace as we speak right now.”
However, the damage was already done. Galeazzi told CNN the policy already left some store shelves empty in advance of the holiday weekend, and it would take “up to probably three weeks, before the supply chain realigns.”