From California to Texas, border agents are increasingly seizing a surprising type of contraband from Mexico: eggs.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents had more than 2,000 encounters with people trying to bring eggs into the United States from Mexico between Nov. 1 and Jan. 17, an agency spokesperson said. In the same 11-week period a year earlier, there were about 460 such encounters.

The rise comes as the price of eggs in the United States has surged, driven in part by an outbreak of bird flu that was detected last February.

Roger Maier, the Customs and Border Protection spokesperson, said in an email on Tuesday that the agency had noted an increase in people attempting to bring eggs to the United States from Mexico, where “they are significantly less expensive.”

The 2,002 encounters involving eggs that occurred between Nov. 1 and Jan. 17 were reported by field offices in San Diego; Tucson, Arizona; Laredo, Texas; and El Paso, Texas.

Customs and Border Protection officials in San Diego and El Paso issued warnings on Twitter last week to remind people that they were not allowed to bring uncooked eggs from Mexico into the United States.


The average price for a dozen large Grade A eggs rose to $4.25 from $1.92 between January and December 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. At grocery stores in Mexico last week, the wholesale price for a kilogram of eggs, which is more than a dozen jumbo eggs, was between about $1.59 and $2.71, according to figures collected by the Mexican government.

By the end of 2022, more than 43 million egg-laying hens had died from bird flu or had been culled to prevent the virus from spreading, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

People entering the United States are required to declare to officials if they have items including meat, fruit, vegetables, animals and seeds in their luggage or vehicle. If border officers find these types of items, and they have not been declared, travelers can face civil penalties of up to $1,000. The fines are much higher if the items are found to be intended for commercial use.

Maier urged travelers to declare food and agricultural items, even those they believe are allowed, to avoid potential penalties.