U.S. border authorities report an increase in egg smuggling attempts as inflation pushes poultry prices

Authorities at the border are seeing more egg and poultry seizures as people continue to try to bring much-needed food to the United States at a skyrocketing cost.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection reports a 108% increase in seized egg products and poultry at ports of entry from October 1 to December 31 of last year, according to Border Report, a news outlet focusing on the southern border.

“My advice is don’t transfer them,” CBP Supervisory Agriculture Specialist Charles Payne told the outlet. “If you don’t report them or try to smuggle them, you risk civil penalties.”

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Inflation affects egg prices

A customer checks eggs before buying anything at a grocery store in Glenview, Illinois. Border officials are seeing more egg seizures amid rising prices and inflation. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh/AP Newsroom)

In December, egg prices rose the most in Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico, according to data company Datasembly, which collects real-time data from more than 200 retailers in North America, including Walmart, Kroger and Target.

A carton of 12 eggs increased by more than 64% in all of the above states, according to the retail data company. That compares to the 18% increase in states like Oregon, California and Washington, according to the data.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average cost for a dozen A eggs in November was $3.59. A year ago, the average cost for the same cartoon was $1.72, according to Labor Department data

Jennifer De La O, the director of field operations for the CBP office in San Diego, tweeted Monday that officials there have noted the increase in raw egg seizures.

“As a reminder, it is illegal to bring uncooked eggs into the U.S. from Mexico. Failure to declare agricultural products can result in fines of up to $10,000,” she wrote.

prices eggs

On January 8, 2023 in Los Angeles, California, half-empty shelves of eggs are seen in a grocery store. (I RYU/VCG via Getty Images/Getty Images)

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Border officials do not normally see eggs being smuggled into the United States compared to other products such as cheese or certain fruits and vegetables that could potentially introduce a foreign disease or harm US agriculture. In October, CBP agents in El Paso, Texas seized 484 pounds of bologna found in a pickup truck during an inspection and another 285 pounds of cheese in separate incidents.

Both suspects failed to declare the products and were each fined $1,000, authorities said.

Daniella Genovese of Fox Business contributed to this report.

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