US border officials report upsurge in egg smuggling attempts as poultry prices soar amid inflation

US border officials report upsurge in egg smuggling attempts as poultry prices soar amid inflation

Authorities at the border are seeing more seizures of eggs and poultry as people continue to try to bring much-needed food into the United States amid rising costs.

According to Border Report, a news outlet focused on the southern border, US Customs and Border Protection reports a 108% increase in egg product and poultry seizures at ports of entry from October 1 to December 31 last year.

“My advice is don’t bring them over,” Charles Payne, the CBP regulator’s agriculture specialist, told the outlet. “If you fail to declare them or attempt to smuggle them, you face civil penalties.”

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Inflation affects egg prices

A shopper checks eggs before shopping 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 retail data company Datasembly, which collects real-time data from over 200 retailers across North America, including Walmart, Kroger and Target.

A carton of 12 eggs is up over 64% in all of the above states, according to the retail data company. That compares to the 18% increase seen in states like Oregon, California and Washington, according to the data.

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

Jennifer De La O, the head of field operations for CBP’s San Diego office, tweeted Monday that officials there had noticed the increase in raw egg seizures.

“As a reminder, uncooked eggs cannot be brought into the United States from Mexico. Failing to declare agricultural items can result in penalties of up to $10,000,” she wrote.

eggs prices

Half-empty shelves with eggs are seen at a supermarket in Los Angeles, California, on January 8, 2023. (I RYU/VCG via Getty Images/Getty Images)

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Border officials typically do not see eggs being smuggled into the United States compared to other items, such as cheese or certain fruits and vegetables, that have the potential to introduce a foreign disease or harm US agriculture. In October, CBP officers in El Paso, Texas, seized 484 pounds of cured meat 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.

Fox Business’ Daniella Genovese contributed to this report.

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