EL PASO, TX (Borderline Report) – These days in Juarez, Mexico, a $3.40 box of eggs is a steal. Unfortunately, federal law prohibits Americans from bringing raw eggs or poultry across the border. That hasn’t stopped people from trying it as egg prices are skyrocketing in the United States.
US Customs and Border Protection reports a 108 percent increase in egg and poultry products seized at ports of entry from October 1 to December 31 last year. The price of a dozen eggs rose from $3.50 to $5.30 over the period, according to the USDA Economic Research Service, as bird flu forced producers to euthanize 43 million laying hens.
“My advice is don’t bring them with you,” said Charles Payne, CBP agricultural supervisor. “If you don’t declare them or try to smuggle them in, you face a civil sanction.”
On Wednesday, Payne showed the egg cartons seized by CBP officers the night before. He said that in the last few months it has become more frequent at the border.
Other ports of entry along the southwestern border are also reporting increased seizures. Director of CBP Field Operations in San Diego the day before warned the public of the trend and reminded those crossing the border of fines up to $10,000 for non-declaration.
Payne said the high fines are for undeclared illegal commercial shipments. Individuals contributing more modest amounts face civil penalties approaching $300. And if they tell CBP ahead of time what they are bringing from Mexico, their eggs will still be seized and destroyed, but they may not have to pay a fine.
“The advantage of announcing this is that we will take it away without a fine. If you do not declare it or try to smuggle it, there will be a fine,” he said.
The surge in egg seizures is something of a novelty for agricultural professionals at points of entry. Often they deal with the confiscation of plants due to concerns about harmful pests such as insects. Bologna smuggling is also sometimes in the news.
CBP recommends that anyone planning shopping trips to Mexico review their full list of banned and banned items before returning to the US.
As for the seized eggs, Payne says they will be burned.