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As egg prices soar, border officials are seeing a spike in egg smuggling into U.S.

While egg prices continue to soar, U.S. customs officials are cracking down on egg smugglers bringing in eggs from Mexico.

An open carton of a dozen Large Grade A Chicken Eggs from Egg-land's Best in the Franklin Farm section of Oak Hill, Fairfax County, Virginia. At Walmart, these eggs sell from $4.88 to $8.12 per dozen. Credit - Famartin, CC SA 4.0.
An open carton of a dozen Large Grade A Chicken Eggs from Egg-land's Best in the Franklin Farm section of Oak Hill, Fairfax County, Virginia. At Walmart, these eggs sell from $4.88 to $8.12 per dozen. Credit - Famartin, CC SA 4.0.

While egg prices continue to soar, U.S. customs officials are cracking down on egg smugglers bringing in eggs from Mexico.

But the bigger concern still centers around the reasons for the spike in egg prices. According to Reuters, U.S. regulators, farmers, and industry argue that top agriculture firms have the power to set prices and drive up what consumers pay for groceries, something that should be investigated.

Egg prices in the U.S. have surged to an average of $4.25 a dozen, up from roughly $1.79 a year ago, according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. The cost of processed eggs — used in liquid or powdered form in manufactured products including salad dressing, cake mix, and chips — has also risen.

Avian flu and cross-border regulations

In December, Digital Journal reported that U.S. Department of Agriculture data showed that nearly 50.54 million birds in the U.S. were wiped out due to the deadliest outbreak of Avian flu in U.S. history in 2022.

The deaths of chickens, turkeys, and other birds represent the worst U.S. animal-health disaster to date, topping the previous record of 50.5 million birds that died in an avian-flu outbreak in 2015.

Losses of poultry flocks sent prices for eggs and turkey meat to record highs, worsening economic pain for consumers facing red-hot inflation and making Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations more expensive in the United States, reported NBC News.

And the avian flu problem was not confined to the U.S. Europe and Great Britain also had their share of poultry deaths, as did Mexico and other countries.

Now we have to look at egg smuggling across the U.S.-Mexico border. While it may sound ludicrous, it is happening, and it is illegal. According to the U/S. Border Patrol, some Americans are crossing into Mexico to buy the food item and trying to sneak cartons of raw eggs along some areas of the southern border, including California and Texas.

“We are seeing an increase in people attempting to cross eggs from Juarez to El Paso because they are significantly less expensive in Mexico than the U.S.,” U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Roger Maier told CBS MoneyWatch. “This is also occurring with added frequency at other Southwest border locations.”

A 30-count carton of eggs in Juárez, Mexico, according to Border Report, sells for $3.40. In some parts of the U.S., such as California, just a dozen eggs are now priced as high as $7.37.

Simply put – Federal law prohibits travelers from bringing certain agriculture products — including eggs, as well as live chickens and turkeys — into the U.S. “because they may carry plant pests and foreign animal diseases,” according to customs rules.

Eggs from Mexico have been banned from entering the U.S. since 2012, according to the USDA. Cooked eggs are allowable under USDA guidelines. Failure to declare agricultural items while entering the U.S. can carry fines of up to $10,000, and it is just not worth it.

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Karen Graham is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for environmental news. Karen's view of what is happening in our world is colored by her love of history and how the past influences events taking place today. Her belief in man's part in the care of the planet and our environment has led her to focus on the need for action in dealing with climate change. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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