*Several California restaurants and retailers are suing the state to block a new law from going into effect that could negatively impact the sale of pork.
California is the nation’s largest market for pork, and the law that is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1 could drive up the cost and create a shortage of pork, The Sacramento Bee reports.
Here’s more from the publication:
The lawsuit in Sacramento Superior Court centers on Proposition 12, a 2018 ballot measure that prohibits the production or importation of pork raised from pigs kept in confined spaces. It requires in part that breeding sows be kept in a space no smaller than 24 square feet.
The plaintiffs include the California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the California Grocers Association, the California Restaurant Association, the California Retailers Association and Monrovia-based pork processor Kruse & Son. The lawsuit argues that while the liability portion of the Prop. 12 provision is set to go into effect in the new year, the state has yet to implement clarifying regulations that were supposed to be final in September 2019.
Bee, Kruse & Son said in a statement that the company is “left with no choice but to seek relief in the courts as a result of California’s delay in posting final regulations. Without final regulations and appropriate time for the supply chain to comply, the State has left pork producers and consumers vulnerable to acute shortages. Hard-working Californians should not be punished for the State’s inaction.”
The coalition of California business owners is taking legal action and seeking more than a two-year delay, per the report. The lawsuit alleges that the pork industry has not had time to adjust farming practices to be in compliance, per the report.
As reported by the New York Times, the lawsuit says “provisions necessary to avoid liability are not in effect.”
“This puts all the uncertainty and risks of an unfinished regulatory regime on pork distributors and end users,” the lawsuit says. Facing fines for selling noncompliant pork, suppliers and businesses would be placed in an “impossible” situation next year, it claims: either certify compliance themselves at all points in the supply chain, or cease pork sales until the state’s various steps of compliance are established.
“All this is coming from out of the state, and they’re imposing criminal penalties, and really trying to reshape the entire market for hogs in the country,” said Michael Formica, the general counsel for the National Pork Producers Council.
“What will happen in California? I don’t know,” said Formica. “One thing we know is there will be finite supplies to sell there.”
“Ultimately, it’s going to be California consumers who pay the price,” said Rachel Michelin, president of the California Retailers Association. “Either they’re not going to be able to get the product, or they’re going to be paying a lot more for it.”