As food prices rise, so do egg seizures at the border
The CBP has reported a 108% increase in seized egg products and poultry throughout several ports of entry at the U.S.-Mexico border
January 20, 2023 8:41am
Updated: February 19, 2023 1:50pm
As the prices of eggs continue to soar in the United States, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is encountering an unprecedented number of individuals trying to smuggle raw eggs and poultry across the border.
The CBP has reported a 108% increase in seized egg products and poultry throughout several ports of entry at the U.S.-Mexico border from October 1 to December 31 of last year.
The price of eggs in the U.S. increased more than 60% in December, from $3.50 to $5.30 after widespread avian flu killed off more than 43 million egg-laying hens, according to the Economic Research of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
In Mexico, however, the hens have been unaffected by the disease. Buyers south of the border can purchase a 30-count carton of eggs for $3.40.
Yet federal law prohibits Americans from bringing in raw eggs and poultry across the U.S.-Mexico border.
“My advice is, don’t bring them over,” said CBP Supervisory Agriculture Specialist Charles Payne. “If you fail to declare them or try to smuggle them, you face civil penalties.”
If crossers transporting eggs fail to declare the product, they can face fines of up to $10,000 if they are bringing a large shipment. Individuals bringing a modest amount usually face fines closer to $300. However, if individuals tell the CBP what they are carrying upfront, their eggs will be seized and destroyed by authorities but will not have to pay fines.
“The advantage of declaring it is, we will pick it up with no penalty issued. If you fail to declare it or if you attempt to smuggle it, there’s going to be a penalty,” he said.