In light of rising chicken prices and inflation, US Customs and Border Protection has reported an increase in egg smuggling into the nation.
According to CBP records, from October 1 to December 31 of the previous year, seizures of poultry and egg products at the southern border increased by 108%. The US Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service observed that during that time, an avian flu outbreak that required farmers to cull 43 million hens caused the cost of a dozen eggs to rise from $3.50 to $5.30.
According to Datasembly, Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico experienced the nation’s most egg price increases in December, with a dozen eggs costing over 64% more. During the same time period, there was an 18% increase in Oregon, California, and Washington.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a carton of a dozen eggs cost on average $1.79 in December 2021 compared to $4.25 in December 2022, a 137% rise.
Earlier this week, Jennifer De La O, the director of field operations for CBP’s San Diego field office, tweeted about the rise in the number of eggs being confiscated at the border.
“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.”
De La O’s Twitter remark caused some users to question CBP’s objectives in light of the widespread drug smuggling and the migrant situation at the unmanned southern border.
Uncooked eggs are not allowed to enter the US from Mexico, according to CBP, due to the possibility of Newcastle Disease and bird flu. Eggs seized at the border are consequently burned.
Charles Payne, a supervisory agriculture specialist for CBP, told Border Report that due to the rising cost of poultry, egg smuggling has become widespread.
According to Payne, De La O’s $10,000 fine usually applies to undeclared unlawful business cargo rather than people. Payne predicts that those who attempt to smuggle a small quantity of eggs into the US will likely be subject to civil fines of around $300.