U.S. shoppers are searching for alternatives to the high cost of eggs. In December 2022, the average cost of a dozen eggs in the U.S. was $4.25, a 137% increase from the previous year. As a result, some Americans are heading over to Mexico to purchase eggs as they are significantly cheaper there. This has led to a rise in the number of eggs being intercepted at the U.S.-Mexico border, with 2,002 border seizures involving eggs occurring between Nov. 1 and Jan. 17, 2023, a 336% increase from the previous year.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has prohibited the undeclared arrival of poultry products, including eggs, due to health concerns. Smugglers failing to declare eggs and poultry products risk a $10,000 fine. Most of the intercepted eggs have been confiscated during primary inspections, but there have been a small number of cases where eggs went undeclared but were later discovered.
Egg prices in Guadalajara, Mexico's second-largest city, were between $1.70 and $2.20 last week, while a dozen large eggs in the U.S. cost slightly more than $4 last month. This has led to shoppers in San Ysidro, a district of San Diego bordering Mexico, buying eggs in Mexico instead of the U.S.
The domestic egg shortage and high prices in the U.S. can be primarily attributed to the avian influenza or bird flu outbreak that has been sweeping the country for the past year. The disease has led to the culling of 44 million egg-laying hens in the U.S., causing the domestic egg supply to fall by 7.5% each month since February. The Department of Agriculture says that while price pressures are easing, egg prices remain at "unappetizing levels" due to ongoing supply constraints.
The high cost of eggs in the U.S. has led some shoppers to turn to Mexico to purchase cheaper eggs. However, this has led to an increase in the number of eggs being intercepted at the U.S.-Mexico border, as the CBP has prohibited the undeclared arrival of poultry products due to health concerns. The domestic egg shortage and high prices in the U.S. can be attributed to the avian influenza outbreak and the culling of 44 million egg-laying hens. Despite some price pressures easing, egg prices remain high due to ongoing supply constraints.