Mexico Imposes Retaliatory Tariffs on $3 Billion Worth of U.S. Goods

Mexico Imposes Retaliatory Tariffs on $3 Billion Worth of U.S. Goods

Mexico retaliated against the Trump Administration last week by imposing tariffs on about $3 billion worth of American pork, steel, cheese, and other goods, according to the New York Times. This is in response to levies imposed by the Trump administration on steel and aluminum.

This tax war brings to light the increasingly strained relationship between the two countries as they work to rewrite the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA.)

Farmers, who are among those most vulnerable to the Mexican tariffs, said the tariffs would devastate American agriculture.

Read More

How The Restaurant Industry is Impacted by the Immigration Debate

How The Restaurant Industry is Impacted by the Immigration Debate

To say the immigration topic in the United States is complicated, is an understatement.

Most recently, the national conversation around the subject has been a heated one arising from President Donald Trump’s efforts to shut down the program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, which protects and provides benefits to Dreamers, people who were brought to the United States as undocumented children, under the premise that it was unconstitutional.

According to advocacy group New American Economy, out of this segment of the population, which amounts to 700,000 immigrants who are currently protected under the DACA program, almost 19 percent hold an occupation in the restaurant or food service sector, as reported by “CNBC.”

Based on census data from 2011 through 2015, New American Economy estimated that the top three occupations by DACA-eligible workers include cashiers (6.5 percent), waiters and waitresses (4.9 percent), and chefs and cooks (4.6 percent). The statistics from the report indicate that the hospitality industry would be the hardest hit if the program was to be no more.

Read More

Foodable Labs Ranks Top Mezcal Brands

Foodable Labs Ranks Top Mezcal Brands

In the past 90 days, 328K beverage influencers have mentioned the spirit: Mezcal.

Mezcal originates from Mexico and it’s made from the plant agave— just like tequila. What’s the difference between the two, you ask?

Well, technically tequila is considered a type of mezcal but all mezcals are not the same as tequilas. The main reason why is because mezcals are ANY agave-based liquor made from ANY type of agave plant grown ANYWHERE in Mexico. Tequilas in the other hand are strictly made from the Blue Agave plant.

Now that we understand the difference, let's get back to mezcals.

One of the things that is so exciting about this spirit is the fact that it can be made out of over 30 different types of agave plants. Another is the distinct artisanal process to produce mezcal.

The distillation process is over two centuries old and it involves burying and slow roasting the heart of the agave plants in wood-fired earth pits with volcanic rocks. Have you ever tasted mezcal neat? Did you notice a smoky flavor? This process is how you get that distinct taste!

Read More

Washington Report: Immigrants Make Up 23 Percent of Restaurant Workforce

Note: If you would like to learn more about the Sanctuary Restaurant movement, you can do so in the organization's website.


Twenty-three percent of 14 million restaurant workers are immigrants and so this industry depends on them. At this time, it feels more important than ever to stand with diverse communities and pledge to protect their liberties, dignities, and freedom[s],” says Della Heiman, who put up a sign at her Wynwood restaurant, Della Test Kitchen, that reads: "Sanctuary Restaurant: A place at the table for everyone."

“...We wanted to be a part of this legally compliant movement to support the safety and diversity of our employees. Some of the core values of Della Test Kitchen and The Wynwood Yard are community and diversity. The Wynwood Yard is a hub where we feel that many of Miami’s different communities overlap and come together,” explained Heiman.

Della Test Kitchen is the only restaurant in Miami-Dade County to publicly join the Sanctuary Restaurant movement. This happened after the county’s mayor, Carlos Giménez, was the first in the nation to demand its local officials to comply with President Donald Trump’s executive order to enhance public safety by hiring “10,000 additional immigration officers” to enforce federal immigration laws and target “sanctuary cities” by withholding funding.

To support this executive order, Trump has gone as far as creating a program he first announced on Feb. 28, in his first speech to Congress, called VOICE — Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement — to provide “service to victims of crimes committed by removable aliens and the family members of such victims,” while the program’s office provides “quarterly reports studying the effects of the victimization by criminal aliens present in the United States.”

What is a Sanctuary City?

A Sanctuary City is a jurisdiction where local officials decline detainer requests of undocumented immigrants by the federal government.

While Giménez’s motives were economically founded to protect the county’s funding, other local leaders, like New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, San Francisco Mayor Ed Le,  and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, have taken a moral stance to protect their dense immigrant communities. The 10 largest sanctuary cities combined would be giving up $2.27 billion dollars in federal funding, according to a Reuters analysis, if they do not comply with Trump’s plans.

List of 10 Largest Sanctuary Cities

  1. New York City | $701.6 million funds at risk

  2. Chicago / Cook County | $526.4 million funds at risk

  3. Los Angeles / L.A. County | $466.2 million funds at risk

  4. Philadelphia | $199.5 million funds at risk

  5. Detroit / Wayne County | $104.7 million funds at risk

  6. Seattle / King County | $72.7 million funds at risk

  7. San Francisco | $70.9 million funds at risk

  8. Boston / Suffolk County | $65.5 million funds at risk

  9. Denver | $39.1 million funds at risk

  10. Washington D.C. | $20.4 million funds at risk

(Source: Reuters analysis of federal data)

Also, in response to Trump’s orders, the “Day Without Immigrants” protest took place Feb. 16, when restaurants sympathizing with the immigrant labor force decided to close shop to prove the importance of this minority group to the restaurant industry.

sweetgreen— a popular fast-casual brand, which ranks as high as No. 11 in Foodable's Top 100 Most Loved Brands report— joined the protest by closing all 18 D.C. locations and stated: “Without the hard work and grit of our team, our stores do not run, and that means we can’t make good on our promise to you, our guest. Our team members are the face of the brand, from the front lines to our kitchen — they’re the backbone of this company and what makes sweetgreen special. And that’s exactly why we stand with them, today and every day...”

The same day of the “Day Without Immigrants” protest, President Trump announced his new Secretary of Labor pick, R. Alexander Acosta, after his first choice, Andrew Puzder, withdrew his nomination amid controversy.

Acosta is currently the Dean of Florida International University’s law school and was formerly the assistant attorney general under the Bush administration. If confirmed, he would be the first Hispanic in Trump’s cabinet.

Last Update - March 3: At publishing time, two more restaurants have registered as sanctuary restaurants in Miami-Dade County. These restaurants are Choices Cafe and Lulu's Nitrogen Ice Cream.

Washington Report: The Stakes for American Agriculture as Trump Moves Toward Building the Wall

In his first 14 days in office, President Trump has signed seven executive orders, many of which have come under fire like the "7-Nation Ban." Despite the continued protests have continued, Trump seems to be following the platform he set during his campaign.

One of President Trump’s campaign promises was to build a border wall between the United States and Mexico. In line with that platform, he signed an executive order on January 25 that directed the immediate construction of a border wall using federal funds. Thus far, no construction has taken place.

Mexico-American relations have been strained since Trump first proposed the border wall idea. He insisted that Mexico would pay for the wall however, Mexican officials have repeatedly stated they would not.

What effect could this strained relationship with Mexico have on our agriculture industry and food costs?

Imports coming into the U.S. from Mexico have been a hot topic because of proposed methods of paying for the border wall. Mexico is the United States' second largest supplier of agricultural imports, with U.S. agricultural imports totalling $21 billion in 2015.

Not many people have considered America’s exports to Mexico and how they may be affected. Mexico is United States' third largest agricultural export market, with the U.S. sending $17.7 billion dollars of agricultural goods to Mexico in 2016. These goods include corn, soybeans, dairy, pork, and beef.

Keep up with On Foodable Weekly’s Washington Reports to stay informed on political happenings surrounding the restaurant industry.