Egg prices in the U.S. have been rising over the past year. Reportedly more Americans are crossing into Mexico to buy eggs at a cheaper price. Many are attempting to smuggle them back along the southern border, around California and Texas. As per the U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Roger Maier, who spoke to CBS MoneyWatch, there has been a spike in egg smuggling attempts from Juarez to El Paso due to the cheap price in Mexico. He also mentioned that this has been happening more frequently at other Southwest border locations as well.
This week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection field operations director in San Diego, Jennifer De La O, reported in a tweet that her office has been seeing a rise in the number of eggs being intercepted at the ports. Not declaring agricultural items while entering the U.S. can cost fines up to $10,000, she added. Federal law doesn’t allow travelers to carry some agricultural products, like eggs, live chickens, and turkeys into the U.S.A. This is a precautionary law to avoid potential plant pests and foreign diseases. It is also mentioned that eggs from Mexico have been banned from entering the U.S. since 2012, according to the USDA and Cooked eggs are allowable under USDA guidelines.
The number of raw eggs confiscations at U.S. borders have risen significantly. As per Border Report, over 100% increase in egg smuggling interceptions have been recorded during the last quarter of 2022 compared to the same period the previous year. The price for a 30-count carton of eggs in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, is $3.40, according to the Border Report. As per data from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, egg prices in the U.S. have risen to an average of $4.25 a dozen, i.e. an increase from approximately $1.79 a year ago. To add more, the cost of processed eggs, which are used in liquid or powdered form in manufactured products such as salad dressing, cake mix, and chips, has also gone up.
The rising prices of eggs due to the increasing consumer demand and domestic egg supplies reduction caused by the avian flu epidemic that has affected U.S. poultry flocks. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, nearly 58 million birds are infected with the disease and over 43 million egg-laying hens have been affected. This makes it the most severe outbreak of avian flu in American till date. The USDA officials are currently investigating the cause of the outbreak.
Charles Payne, a supervisory agriculture specialist at U.S. Customs in El Paso, Texas, stated that travelers coming inside the U.S. should declare eggs at the border. The found eggs will be confiscated and destroyed, but the penalty will be waived for the offender. It is mentioned that the customs officials prefer not to issue penalties, but occasionally have to in certain situations. Therefore, if eggs are declared, there will not be any issue.