Why contraband eggs are piling up at border of U.S. and Mexico
With the price of eggs in California nearly tripling in the past year, many people are going farther to find cheaper prices, even crossing the border, but at the San Ysidro crossing between San Diego and Tijuana, hundreds and hundreds of eggs are sitting behind closed doors.
Chief Rosie Maizuss, Chief Agricultural Specialist with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, is responsible for all food entering the port. She explains why the eggs are sitting at the crossing.
“They are here because eggs are prohibited from Mexico,” she told KTLA.
Maizuss says her agents are seeing more and more eggs than ever before at the border.
“Hundreds up on hundreds of people bringing boxes. All of these eggs will be destroyed,” she said.
The primary reason the eggs are destroyed is because they can potentially carry HPAI, better known as bird flu.
Bird flu is one of the main reasons for the skyrocketing price of eggs. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports the average national price for a dozen eggs is just under $3.40. Just a year ago, it was $1.30. That’s about a 161% increase in costs.
“(Bird flu) is approximately in 47 states,” Maizuss explained. “It cost a lot to eradicate, and we depend a lot on this product. So, we basically want to get rid of this problem, so want to take care of this risk.”
From the border crossing station, the eggs will be taken to a nearby waste facility where they’ll be steamed, sterilized and thrown away. Officials at the border say they’re throwing out thousands of eggs per week.
According to Maizuss, people are saying they’re purchasing eggs in Mexico for their families because of the high cost of eggs in the U.S.
Hanson Car, from Los Angeles, is one of those people stopped at the border for trying to bring in two cartons of eggs. Car said he didn’t know bringing the eggs in from Mexico was illegal.
“We eat every day, at least two eggs,” he said. “I know about the bird flu in U.S., but I did not know it has to do with Mexico.”
People who turn their eggs in at the border are free to go, but if you’re caught smuggling eggs into the country, you can face civil penalties or fines.
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