Nogales Asks For Temporary Produce Inspection Pause Amid Outbreak

Published: Sunday, April 5, 2020 - 8:45am

Officials in Nogales are asking for a pause of new produce inspections in the major port city to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

On Friday evening, the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors and the mayor of Nogales asked federal authorities for a “temporary delay” of those inspections, according to two similar proclamations.

Saturday was the first day that dramatically stepped up tomato inspections were to go into effect, and both documents reference a jump from 500 quality inspections per month to more than 13 thousand. Those inspections were part of the renegotiated tomato suspension agreement between the U.S. Department of Commerce and Mexican growers.

“In one day, a typical inspector may go to four or five different warehouses,” said Jaime Chamberlain, president of the local port authority’s board. “That is something that is putting our community at risk.”

He says produce warehouses have taken a number precautionary measures in response to the pandemic, including limiting who can enter the facilities. As of Saturday, there were four confirmed COVID-19 cases in the county, according to state authorities.

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