Consumer Catch-Up: Possible avocado shortage, debt relief improves brain function, Volkswagen recall

Closing the U.S.-Mexico border could mean shortages of avocados
President Donald Trump's continued threat to close down the U.S.-Mexico border could have rippling consequences that would hit Americans in the pocketbook - and the kitchen.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, half of imported vegetables and 40 percent of imported fruit are grown in Mexico. If the border were to close, there would be shortages of produce and higher prices. One of the hardest-hit crops would be avocados.

Americans could run out of avocados in just three weeks, said Steve Barnard, the head of Mission Produce, the world's top avocado distributor. He told Reuters, "You couldn't pick a worse time of year because Mexico supplies virtually 100 percent of the avocados in the U.S. right now."

Debt relief leads to improved brain function, study finds
Getting rid of debt can be a load off your mind - and it might help your mind work even better.

A new study from researchers at National University of Singapore's Social Service Research Centre found that taking away debt from a person can improve their cognitive functions, lessen anxiety, and improve impulse control.

The center studied about 200 low-income people whose debts were unexpectedly paid off by charities. The researchers studied the subjects both before and after their debts were erased. They found that errors in cognitive function tests fell 13%, generalized anxiety disorders fell 25%, and instant gratification indicators dropped 11%, meaning that their impulse control had improved.

"Our study shows that because debt impairs psychological functioning and decision-making, it would be extremely challenging for even the motivated and talented to escape poverty," the university's Dr. Ong Qiyan told MarketWatch.

Volkswagen recalls Golfs, Jettas, and Tiguans over faulty coil spring
Volkswagen is recalling over 56,000 vehicles due to a faulty rear coil spring.

The rear coil spring has the potential to prematurely fracture, which can damage the rear tires. If the vehicle is in operation at the time, it could cause loss of vehicle control and increase the risk of a crash.

Affected cars include 2017-2019 Golf Sportwagens, model year 2019 Jettas, model year 2015-2019 Golfs, and model year 2018-2019 Tiguans.

Owners can contact Volkswagen customer service at 1-800-893-5298; dealers will replace the springs free of charge.

Web copy written and produced by Simone Chavoor

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