Agriculture · California

Judge’s ruling pushes off Calif.’s impending bacon crisis

A California judge has decided to delay enforcement of part of a new farm animal welfare law that critics said would cause price hikes and supply shortages for bacon and other fresh pork products in the state.

The law that went into effect Jan. 1 stemmed from a 2018 ballot measure where California voters set the nation’s toughest living space standards for breeding pigs.

Superior Court Judge James Arguelles says retailers and restaurants will not be subject to enforcement of the new restrictions on whole pork meat sales until six months after the state enacts final regulations, the Associated Press reported.

The California Grocers Association, which sued along with other business groups, said Tuesday it was pleased by the decision.

“The court’s decision to ensure regulations are finalized before the enforcement provisions of Proposition 12 take effect was the correct one,” the association said in a statement. “California restaurants and families are already struggling with rising food costs and the haphazard implementation of Proposition 12 without any clear rules or certification process in place would have only made it worse.”

The California Department of Food and Agriculture said Tuesday it and the attorney general’s office were evaluating the decision.

“It should be noted that the judge’s ruling is a narrow one that applies only to retailers, including grocers, and not to pork producers providing pork products to California,” the department said in a statement.

Staff reports from The San Joaquin Valley Sun staff.