NPR Story
4:10 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

The War On Cascarones: Border Patrol Cracks Down On Confetti Eggs

The Easter holiday is a very busy time to cross the border.

More than 200,000 travelers are expected to be in Baja California for the Easter holiday. In an effort to reduce the bottleneck of commuters seeking to cross, the CBP is reminding travelers what steps they can take to expedite the entry process.

Which brings us to cascarones.

Cascarones — or confetti eggs — are painted eggshells filled with confetti, traditionally thrown or crushed over an individual’s head during holidays like Easter, Cinco De Mayo, weddings, etc. Making and breaking the eggs is a popular tradition for many families along the border. But the border patrol is cracking down on the popular eggs.

If a family gets caught traveling across the border with more than 10 cascarones they can face a hefty fine. In certain cases, it can be as high as $1,000. If a company gets caught shipping the eggshells on a large scale the fines can be more than $50,000.

The CBP explains their reasoning is aimed at protecting birds from Exotic Newcastle Disease.

The reason cascarones are closely regulated is to prevent the spread of Exotic Newcastle Disease (END), a highly contagious, fatal viral disease that affects every species of bird, attacking respiratory, nervous and digestive systems. Exotic Newcastle Disease is so virulent that many birds die without having developed any clinical signs. This disease can infect and cause death even in vaccinated poultry. Mortality is up to 90 percent of exposed birds.

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