Twenty years after the implementation of NAFTA between the United States and Canada, Mexico has become the top importer of poultry products from the US. It is the country that imports the largest amount of chicken, turkey and egg from US producers. But for the first time, Mexico has made it’s first shipment of fresh table eggs for industrialization in the US.

"We managed to reach a consensus between the US and Mexican health authorities, together with a group of companies in the state of Jalisco, to elaborate a very sophisticated protocol, very demanding in terms of quality, to supply fresh eggs to the US industry," said Cesar de Anda, Jalisco egg entrepreneur and president of the International Egg Commission, during an exclusive interview with WATT Global Media at the International Poultry and Swine Show (SIAVS) this week in São Paulo, Brazil.

The USDA has just published new rules "which were followed via this protocol and the first shipment was finally sent last week, which symbolizes the opening of this system and it worked very well," said Mr. de Anda. The current situation of the dramatic spread of avian influenza throughout the US has influenced the US to be more open to importing products, but Mr. de Anda expects this to finally become a true bilateral trade.

The private sector of Mexico, handling high-level instructions in Mexico and in the US, has been "the bond that helped make this this protocol a reality”. Mr. de Anda added further that "both governments were very proactive." At present, the contract is for one year, but the goal is to make it long-term. The amount of eggs to be exported has not been established yet, but the important thing is the fact that it is happening. There are only a few countries that can export eggs to the US.

Despite the situation of avian influenza, this first export was achieved because the eggs will be industrialized in specific plants and are not meant for direct consumption. The product exits in packages sealed by Mexican authorities under a disinfection and transport protocol. Upon arrival, the shipment truck can only be opened by a USDA inspector. Thus, the points of maximum risk are eliminated. In addition, the egg is not a source of pollution. All packaging must be incinerated and can not be reused. This is in comparison to the actual product spread when used for direct consumption; the opposite of industrialization usage and eggs arrive at one single place.