Increasing US Egg Prices Trigger Smuggling Along Mexican Border
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Increasing US Egg Prices Trigger Smuggling Along Mexican Border

Photo by:   Erol Ahmed - Unsplash
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Eliza Galeana By Eliza Galeana | Junior Journalist & Industry Analyst - Mon, 01/23/2023 - 07:28

Due to an outbreak of the avian flu, egg prices in the US have ballooned by 59% during the past year. Consequently, more US citizens are crossing the border to Mexico to buy eggs and then try to smuggle them back.

According to Border Report, US Customs and Border Protection reported a 108% increase in seized egg products and poultry in El Paso and San Diego from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, 2022. "We are seeing more people attempting to cross eggs from Juarez to El Paso because they are significantly less expensive in Mexico than the US," Roger Maier, Spokesperson, U. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) told CBS.

CBS reported that a dozen eggs cost nearly US$8 in some border cities like San Ysidro, compared to less than US$3 in Tijuana, Mexico. “Do not bring them over, if you fail to declare them or try to smuggle them, you could face civil penalties," said Charles Payne, Supervisory Agriculture Specialist, CBP. 

In the US, failure to declare agricultural items can lead to fines of up to US$10,000. Payne explained that the highest fines are reserved for illegal commercial shipments. Individuals face civil fines of approximately US$300 and those who declare their eggs may avoid fines altogether. In the latter scenario, eggs will be seized and destroyed. In the US, travelers are not allowed to bring eggs and poultry into the country due to the risk of carrying plant pests and foreign animal diseases. Mexican eggs have been banned since 2012, according to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis reported that since 2022, egg prices in the US climbed from US$1.79 a dozen to an average of US$4.25. Likewise, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that retail egg prices have advanced more than any other item in the supermarket in recent months, rising 11.1% from November to December, 2022 and resulting in an annual price inflation of 59.9%. Moreover, the cost of processed eggs used in manufactured products including salad dressing, cake mix and chips has also risen.

Since 2022, egg cost increases have been driven by growing customer demand along with a decrease in domestic egg supplies caused by an avian flu pandemic that has greatly affected US poultry flocks. The USDA pointed out that nearly 58 million birds have been infected with the disease, while more than 43 million egg-laying hens were culled. The outbreak has been qualified as the worst of its kind in US history.

Photo by:   Erol Ahmed - Unsplash

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