You’ll Never Believe What’s Being Smuggled Across the Border Now
I can see a mountain in Mexico from my backyard. That may give a little perspective on how close we are to the border. When I talk to my "back east" friends who live in places like Ohio and Indiana, they try to tell me how things are here on the border based on what they've seen in the news.
My friends' perspectives are a little skewed, but here in Cochise County we see the reality every day. Everything from fentanyl and meth smugglers to human traffickers speeding through our towns trying to outrun the Cochise County Sheriff's Department and other law enforcement.
Our hardworking Border Patrol agents work hard to prevent smuggling of all kinds. But now law enforcement is cracking down on a new issue: the illegal smuggling of eggs into our country from Mexico.
The New York Times reports: "Traffickers are attempting to sneak thousands of Mexican “huevos” across the border per week after skyrocketing prices have made them a hot property, costing up to $8 per dozen in certain parts of America."
It may not seem like a big deal compared to some of the other law enforcement challenges, but the impact could be greater than you might imagine.
The CDC reports the outbreak of the bird flu last year resulted in a loss of over 57 million birds nationwide, leading to the drop in supply and the surge in prices.
In the last three months of 2022, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reported an 108% increase in egg seizures at the border. Those who've been caught face fines up to $10,000.
In 2012, the practice of bringing poultry or eggs into the country was banned in order to curb the risk of spreading bird-borne diseases, such as bird flu and Newcastle disease, which can wipe out whole flocks of domestic and wild birds.
The decrease in availability of eggs and the jump in prices haven't tempered the demand. The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis data reports an average surge of $4.25 per dozen, up from about $1.79 a dozen last year. The increase has also caused a price increase for products that use eggs, like salad dressing, cake mixes, and mayonnaise.
We've seen much higher egg prices - as much as $6 to $8 a dozen. I think it's time we befriend the folks raising backyard chickens here and consider picking up a few dozen eggs at the weekly Farmers Market. If I'm going to pay higher prices for eggs, at least I'd like to know I'm supporting small, local farmers.