Food news of the world. Drug cartels are getting into the culinary business.
Excerpted from Deutsche Welle 7.22.2019
It has become increasingly common for Mexico City’s taquerias to serve fake guacamole in their tacos. The guacamole no longer has any avocado. High demand, measly harvests, and US and Mexican drug cartels are to blame.
Even Mexican drug cartels seem to want a piece of the avocado business. Due to its weather and geography, the Mexican state of Michoacán has become a hub for the production of synthetic drugs and, simultaneously, a “paradise” for the cultivation of avocados.
While drug cartels routinely threaten and extort money from farmers, avocado shipments are also often being attacked.
The situation has led some leading producers to form their own security services, the so-called autodefensas, which is a private paramilitary force.
The US has acquired quite a liking for the Mexican dip guacamole. Especially on the day of the Super Bowl, Americans devour the avocado-based dip in immense quantities. According to the Avocado Producers and Exporting Packers Association of Mexico (APEAM), 120,000 tons of avocados were imported by the US for consumption during this year’s Super Bowl alone. That’s 20% more than in the previous year and four times the quantity of 2014.
The Americans’ craving for avocado is increasingly forcing taco stalls in Mexico to serve their meat-filled tortillas with fake guacamole. The fake variety still contains the base ingredients of tomatoes, chili oil, salt, garlic and cilantro, but the avocados are substituted by a type of Mexican squash. The dip retains its green color and has a similar consistency and taste to the original. Nevertheless, “it still hurts,” the online portal Chilango said.
Recipes akin to one published by food blogger Alejandra de Nava have been in circulation for years now. The uproar around fake guacamole, however, stems from the skyrocketing prices for avocados, making their use in guacamole almost a luxury.