The United States Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) has seen a dramatic increase in efforts to smuggle eggs illegally across the Mexican borders into the United States. This is due to the high prices of eggs in the US, which have skyrocketed by 60% between December 2021 and December 2022. This is largely attributed to the impact of avian bird flu, which has caused egg prices in Mexico to remain significantly lower than those in the US.
The San Diego Field Office has recently noticed an increase in the number of eggs intercepted at our ports of entry. As a reminder, uncooked eggs are prohibited entry from Mexico into the U.S. Failure to declare agriculture items can result in penalties of up to $10,000. pic.twitter.com/ukMUvyKDmL
— Director of Field Operations Sidney Aki (@DFOSanDiegoCA) January 18, 2023
Gerrelaine Alcordo, a representative from Customs and Border Protection in San Diego, spoke to the Los Angeles Times about the issue and stated that poultry products are cheaper in Mexico compared to the United States and that this trend is being observed more frequently in other Southwest border locations as well. She emphasized that the agency continues to observe high numbers of poultry products that are banned and that even one raw egg is a cause for concern as it poses a risk to American agriculture.
Since 2012, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has prohibited the importation of raw eggs and poultry products over the border due to the threat of diseases that could affect U.S. agriculture. While most instances of egg transport across the border are reported at the time of crossing, there has been a recent increase in the number of eggs being transported without declaration.
According to CBP, there has been a significant rise in egg seizures in their San Diego office, with a 397% increase from the last quarter of 2021 to 2022. Similar increases were also observed in Tucson, Arizona with a 320% increase and in Laredo, Texas with a 313% increase during the same time frame. Individuals who choose to declare their eggs when crossing the border are permitted to surrender them without incurring any penalties, however, those who fail to declare their eggs face a $300 initial fine. Repeat offenders or those importing commercial-sized quantities of eggs can expect to incur even higher penalties.
In order to protect American agriculture from potential diseases, CBP is continuing to monitor egg smuggling attempts across the Mexican border. They are also reminding individuals that even one uncooked egg is too many and that penalties can be higher for repeat offenders or commercial-size imports.
The preceding article is a summary of an article that originally appeared on The Daily Caller