SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — With the Easter holiday upon us, U.S. Customs and Border Protection is reminding border commuters that cascarones, confetti-filled eggshells, are restricted to no more than a dozen per passenger at ports of entry.
The shells, which may be decorated, etched or painted must be clean, dry, and free of any egg residue, according to CBP.
The fear is that while the eggs may be stuffed with confetti they might also be carrying diseases such as avian influenza that could wipe out the American poultry industry.
“If they are not cleaned properly they pose a risk to transmit the avian influenza,” said Rosalinda Maizuss, the chief agricultural officer at the San Ysidro Port of Entry.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, there is currently an outbreak affecting chicken and egg farms in several states across the country, especially in Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota.
Other diseases such as Newcastle disease can also be spread by contaminated eggshells brought in from Mexico or Canada.
The USDA says these viruses infect chickens, turkeys, ducks, partridges, pheasants, quail, pigeons and ostriches.
“Our job is to make sure anything like that is not introduced into the United States that’s going to affect our poultry,” Maizuss said, adding that that fresh eggs, raw chicken, and live birds or poultry are prohibited from coming across the border.
“Travelers need to declare what they’re bringing,” she said. “We can give them the option, if they want to keep them they have to take them back to Mexico, if not, we can keep them here and we do destroy them.”
According to CBP, attempting to bring in prohibited agricultural items could lead to traveler delays and may result in a fine of up to $1000.