British restaurants are being encouraged to take avocados off their menus, amid fears profits from the popular green fruit are being used to fund Mexican drug cartels.

Drug bosses have taken control of farms growing avocados in Michoacan in west Mexico, following a spate of violence, reports the Daily Mail.

One of the area's most prominent drug cartels, Knights Templar, is said to earn more than $277 million a year from "blood avocados" sold to British buyers.

These figures make the fruit more profitable than marijuana, according to the Sunday Express.

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Michelin-star chef, JP McMahon, pleaded with customers in the UK to stop eating what he refers to as the "blood diamonds of Mexico".

The owner of restaurant Aniar and Tartare, went on to tell the Irish Independent that food outlets should "stop serving them" altogether.

"Change won't happen unless consumers avoid them. We don't use any in our restaurants. There are plenty of alternatives.

"I don't use them because of the impact they have on the countries that they are coming from - deforestation in Chile, violence in Mexico. For me, they are akin to battery chickens."

Several cafes have also joined the avocado ban, with the Wild Strawberry Cafe in Buckinghamshire taking them off their menu, after previously serving up 1000 per week.

Taking to Instagram, owner Katy Brill said the fruit is damaging the environment and enriching the lives of cartels.

"The Western world's obsession with avocado has been placing unprecedented demand on avocado farmers, pushing up prices to the point where there are even reports of Mexican drug cartels controlling lucrative exports," she shared in the post.

She has since replaced her most popular dish of avocado on toast, with sautéed garlic mushrooms.

The ban has been generally well received however TV presenter Kristie Allsopp tweeted: "WTF! I'm expected to give up avocados, but no one dares say it might be a good idea to give up drugs!"

Another user, Sean, noted: "My first thought on the avocados thing was 'Well, how bad are drug cartels really?'"