Meanwhile, a group claims the egg industry is price gouging….and one rent-a-chicken company’s business is taking flight.
Legal Insurrection readers will recall that I reported on the serious egg shortages in the country this June, caused mainly by the spread of a severe type of avian flu paired with Bidenflation.
However, with challenges come opportunities. So rather than limiting themselves to the smuggling of drugs or illegal immigrants, smugglers are now bringing in eggs.
Traffickers are attempting to sneak thousands of Mexican “huevos” across the border per week after skyrocketing prices have made them a hot commodity, costing up to $8 per dozen in certain parts of America.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said they saw an uptick of 108% in egg seizures in the last three months of 2022, according to Border Report and violators end up having to shell out for a fine of up to $10,000.
Customs officers have seen many more cases “where the eggs were not declared and then discovered during an inspection,” CBP spokesman Roger Maier told the Post.
“When that happens the eggs are seized and the individual is assessed a $300 civil penalty,” he said, adding the $10,000 charge is only usually applied to repeat offenders or “commercial size imports.”
The San Diego Field Office has recently noticed an increase in the number of eggs intercepted at our ports of entry. As a reminder, uncooked eggs are prohibited entry from Mexico into the U.S. Failure to declare agriculture items can result in penalties of up to $10,000. pic.twitter.com/ukMUvyKDmL
— Director of Field Operations Jennifer De La O (@DFOSanDiegoCA) January 18, 2023
Meanwhile, a farm group says that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) should examine high egg prices for signs of price gouging from top egg companies.
U.S. regulators, farmers, and industry have often argued in recent years about the power of top agriculture firms to set prices and drive up what consumers pay for groceries, such as when the price of beef skyrocketed in 2021.
The latest concern is eggs, whose price was up 138% in December from a year prior, to $4.25 a dozen, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has pointed to a record outbreak of avian flu as a reason for the high prices. But the nation’s antitrust regulator should also examine record-high profits at the top egg company, said Farm Action on Thursday in a letter to FTC chair Lina Khan.
Cal-Maine Foods, which controls 20% of the retail egg market, reported quarterly sales up 110% and gross profits up more than 600% over the same quarter in the prior fiscal year, according to a late December filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
In the filing, the company pointed to decreased egg supply nationwide due to avian flu driving up prices as a reason for its record sales. The company has had no positive avian flu tests on any of its farms.
Instead of smuggling or complaining about prices, Americans are now raising their own chickens. A company that rents chicken says their business is now booming.
“Even if you buy the premium eggs at the store, the fresh eggs direct from your backyard will be superior every time,” says Jenn Tompkins of Armstrong County, co-founder of Rent the Chicken.
Rent the Chicken allows homeowners to try out raising chickens with minimal hassle. She says rising egg prices have boosted interest.
“More interest than ever,” says Tompkins. “We bring a chicken coop to someone’s backyard for a rental from spring until fall with two chickens that lay about a dozen eggs a week or four chickens that lay about two dozen eggs a week.”
The rental price for the whole season can be as low as $500, so you do the math on how much you spend on eggs.
But Tove Danovich, who wrote the soon-to-be-published book “Under the Henfluence,” says chickens also make great pets.
“I think they are really a delight in addition to the fact, of course, unlike our darling dogs and cats, they actually lay breakfast for us,” says Danovich.
Americans eat on the average over 280 eggs each year. Few foods are as perfect in their nutritional value, and those who can match supply with demand will clearly do well.DONATE
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