(Feb. 20) The discovery by California inspectors of live scale insects in avocados shipped from Mexico is not putting a serious dent in exports to the U.S., according to an official from a Mexican growers’ group.

The pests, which are not on the list of insects banned by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, have been found by California Department of Food and Agriculture inspectors in 25% of loads of Mexican avocados shipped since Feb. 1, the date Mexican product was allowed back into California, Florida and Hawaii, according to a news release from the California Avocado Commission, Irvine.

Those loads have been either fumigated or shipped back out of California, the commission said.

Despite the rejected shipments, movement of product has been steady to the U.S. in February, including to California, said Emiliano Escobedo, a New York-based representative of APEAM, the Michoacan, Mexico-based exporters association.

Large volumes of fruit from Chile have lessened the potential impact of the rejected shipments, because Mexican growers have been limiting shipments due to weak markets, Escobedo said. That should change in March, however, he said, when Mexico strengthens its presence in the deal.

On the phytosanitary issue, Escobedo said that in the decade since the USDA began inspecting Mexican avocados, more than 22 million pieces of fruit have been inspected, none of which were found to contain pests on the department’s banned list.