The cost of eggs has steadily increased over the last year, to the point where all of us have probably stared at the price and thought, “that can’t be right.” But it’s true: The average cost for a dozen eggs hit $4.25 in December — and in some states, 12 eggs are selling for over $7.
But in Juarez, Mexico, shoppers can pick up a mega-carton of 30 eggs for the incredible-by-comparison price of $3.40. That kind of bargain seems to have prompted some U.S. citizens to travel across the border to buy eggs in Mexico, despite the fact that it’s against federal law to bring uncooked eggs or poultry products across the border.
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), between October 1 and December 31, 2022, it saw a 108% increase in the number of eggs and poultry products seized at U.S. ports of entry.
“My advice is, don’t bring them over,” CBP Supervisory Agriculture Specialist Charles Payne told the online publication Border Report. “If you fail to declare them or try to smuggle them, you face civil penalties.”
Those penalties aren’t cheap, either. The fines for bringing undeclared raw eggs into the U.S. start at $300 and could increase to as much as $10,000. Before you get any ideas, no, you can’t just declare your egg haul to CBP officers and then drive home to make a less-expensive omelet. Even declared raw eggs will be seized and incinerated, but declaring that you’re transporting eggs will save you from any financial penalties.
“The advantage of declaring it is, we will pick it up with no penalty issued,” Payne said. “If you fail to declare it or if you attempt to smuggle it, there’s going to be a penalty.”
On Wednesday, Jennifer De La O, the Director of Field Operations at the CBP’s office in San Diego, tweeted that those ports of entry have also seen an uptick in egg smugglers.
“The San Diego Field Office has recently noticed an increase in the number of eggs intercepted at our ports of entry,” she wrote. “As a reminder, uncooked eggs are prohibited entry from Mexico into the U.S. Failure to declare agriculture items can result in penalties of up to $10,000.”
Specialist Payne did confirm to NBC San Diego that “personal meals” containing cooked eggs or cooked poultry would be allowed to cross the border. Sounds like you might want to get that omelet to go.