There has been an increase in egg smuggling attempts across the border, says San Diego Customs


High prices are driving an increase in attempts to bring eggs into the United States from Mexico, according to border officials.

Officers at the San Diego Customs and Border Protection Office have seen an increase in the number of attempts to move eggs across the US-Mexico border, according to a tweet from Director of Field Operations Jennifer De La O.

“The San Diego Field Office has recently noticed an increase in the number of eggs being intercepted at our ports of entry,” De La O wrote in Tuesday’s tweet. “As a reminder, uncooked eggs are prohibited from entry from Mexico into the U.S. Failure to declare agricultural commodities can result in penalties of up to $10,000.”

Bringing uncooked eggs from Mexico into the United States is illegal because of the risk of bird flu and Newcastle disease, a contagious virus that affects birds, according to Customs and Border Protection.

In a statement emailed to CNN, Customs and Border Protection Specialist Gerrelaine Alcordo attributed the increase in attempted egg smuggling to the high cost of eggs in the United States. A massive outbreak of deadly bird flu among U.S. chicken flocks has sent egg prices soaring, climbing 11.1% from November to December and 59.9% annually, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The increase has been reported at the Tijuana-San Diego crossing as well as “other southwest border locations,” Alcordo said.

For the most part, travelers who bring eggs have declared the eggs while crossing the border. “When that happens, the person can abandon the product without consequence,” Alcordo said. “CBP agricultural specialists will collect and then destroy the eggs (and other prohibited food/ag products) as a matter of routine.”

In a few incidents, travelers did not declare their eggs and the products were discovered during inspection. In these cases, the eggs were confiscated and the travelers were fined $300, Alcordo explained.

“The penalties may be higher for repeat offenders or commercial size imports,” he added.

Alcordo stressed the importance of declaring all food and agricultural products when travelling.

“While many items may be permitted, it is best to declare them to avoid possible fines and penalties if deemed prohibited,” he said. “If they are declared and considered prohibited, they can be abandoned without consequence. If they are not declared and then discovered during an examination, the traveler will be subject to punishment.”

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