U.S. Customs and Border Protection is reminding the traveling public to be mindful that certain agricultural items such as raw eggs and poultry from Mexico are prohibited from entry into the United States, and failure to declare these items may result in monetary penalties.
“There has been a large increase in the volume of prohibited food items, such as raw eggs and raw poultry meat, brought by travelers from Mexico. We would like to remind the traveling public that federal agricultural regulations remain in effect,” said Jennifer De La O, CBP Director of Field Operations in San Diego.
The ongoing outbreak of avian influenza (bird flu) is being blamed for increases in prices of eggs and poultry according to USDA’s Economic Research Service. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirms that this outbreak has caused the loss of over 57 million birds, mainly chickens and turkeys, in the United States alone. View avian influenza confirmations by visiting USDA’s 2022-2023 Confirmations of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza. This is the deadliest bird flu outbreak in history, and while the current bird flu outbreak is believed to initially have been spread by wild birds, previous outbreaks of this and other avian diseases like Newcastle disease have been linked to human movement of birds and avian products. Even a soiled bird cage or used egg carton could potentially spread these diseases.
The USDA has issued guidance to zoos and bird keepers on how best to keep their birds healthy and reduce the risk from bird flu and other infectious diseases. Visit USDA Guidance to learn more about the guidelines for zoos and captive wildlife facilities. Reducing the outbreak’s impact is of paramount importance, and preventing the spread, including the prohibition of importing items that may spread the disease from other countries.
CBP encourages travelers to declare all agricultural items to a CBP officer upon arrival to avoid penalties. Travelers should not attempt to bring fruits, vegetables, or meats into the United States without first confirming they are permitted. Raw eggs and poultry from Mexico are prohibited and will be confiscated at the port. For more information, travelers may visit the Bringing Agricultural Products into the United States section of the CBP website.
In addition, travelers may bring permissible food items from Mexico through a passenger port of entry as long as the food items are for personal use only. Food items imported for commercial purposes (intended for resale or distribution, and not personal use) need to be imported at a cargo facility.