Border Protection warns travelers face fines for smuggling eggs into the US from Mexico as prices soar

Americans living near the southern border are apparently crossing into Mexico to do their grocery shopping to avoid high prices in the United States.

The US Customs and Border Protection recently warned travelers that transporting agricultural items such as raw eggs and poultry from Mexico to the United States may result in fines. The agency linked the price increase attributed to the bird flu outbreak to an increase in prohibited foods intercepted by border officials.

“We’re seeing an increase in people trying to get eggs across from Juárez to El Paso because they’re significantly less expensive in Mexico than they are in the US. This is also happening more frequently elsewhere on the Southwest border,” Roger Maier said. , a CBP. Public Affairs Specialist based in El Paso, Texas.

The El Paso Field Office reported a 92% increase in incidents of travelers attempting to bring eggs into the United States between November 1 and January 17 compared to the same period last year. The San Diego Field Office reported the highest number of egg-related interceptions/encounters, with 1,077 incidents, an increase of 368% from last year.

Anyone caught smuggling eggs can face a $300 civil penalty, though CBP says most people declare their foods prohibited during inspection at the border.

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A CBP officer carries seized eggs at the southern border

Eggs seized by CBP officers at the southern border.

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“There has been a large increase in the volume of prohibited foods, such as raw eggs and raw poultry, brought in by travelers from Mexico. We would like to remind the traveling public that federal agricultural regulations remain in effect,” said Jennifer De La O, Director of CBP field operations in San Diego in a recent press release.

Thanks to an outbreak of avian influenza, US egg inventories were 29% lower in the last week of December 2022 than they were at the start of the year, according to the Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service. More than 43 million laying hens have been lost to the disease, and limited supplies have sent egg prices soaring to record levels.

RISE IN THE PRICES OF EGGS LEADS THE SENATOR TO REQUEST AN INVESTIGATION ON THE INCREASE IN PRICES

Eggs seized by CBP officers

US Customs and Border Protection reported a 92% increase in egg seizures at the El Paso Field Office from November 1 to January 17 compared to the same period last year.

Consumers suffered a 60% increase in prices for all types of eggs last year, according to the Consumer Price Index, which measures inflation.

The average price of a dozen Grade A large eggs was $4.25 in December, up 138% from $1.79 a year earlier, according to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. .

US BORDER AUTHORITIES REPORT INCREASE IN EGG SMUGGLING ATTEMPTS AS POULTRY PRICES SOAR AID INFLATION

A Customs and Border Protection agent checks a woman's documents at the Paso Del Norte port of entry in downtown El Paso, Texas.

A Customs and Border Protection agent reviews a woman’s documents at the Paso Del Norte Port of Entry in downtown El Paso, Texas on November 8, 2021.

Although high prices in the US may make cheaper eggs in Mexico seem like an easy way to save money, CBP reminds border residents that prohibited foods declared during inspection when traveling from Mexico will be collected and destroyed. .

“There have been a very small number of cases in the last week where eggs were not declared and then discovered during an inspection,” Maier told FOX Business. “When that happens, the eggs are seized and a $300 civil penalty is imposed on the individual. Penalties can be higher for repeat offenders or commercial size imports.

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“With food and agricultural products, the best advice for travelers is to always declare them. While many items may be allowed, it is best to declare them to avoid potential fines and penalties if they are deemed prohibited,” he added. “If declared and found to be prohibited, they can be abandoned without consequence. If they are not declared and then discovered during an examination, the traveler will be subject to penalties.”

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