The Mexican government is preparing to import up to 132,000 tons of eggs to prevent a surge in prices as a consequence of a bird-flu outbreak in the western state of Jalisco, Economy Secretary Bruno Ferrari said.
The government is ready to suspend duties on egg imports from countries with which Mexico does not have free trade pacts, he told a press conference.
Turkey, Poland, China and Ukraine have been identified as countries that export eggs at competitive prices, the secretary said.
Ferrari said avian flu has been detected in 2.5 million of the 14.4 million poultry birds in Jalisco, the country's main chicken-farming region.
Nearly a million birds have died or been slaughtered, he said.
"Mexico is self-sufficient in egg production. In fact, we export eggs," Ferrari said, pointing out that the infected chickens represent only 1.7 percent of the country's egg-producing poultry.
Eggs remain in abundant supply, "so one can't justify the rise in prices" that has been detected in some parts of the country, the economy secretary said.
"This department will act severely against those who are exploiting this situation to raise prices without economic justification," he vowed.
Authorities have quarantined the affected chicken farms in Jalisco to stop the spread of avian flu, the director of the food safety service, Enrique Sanchez, said earlier this week. EFE