Business · California · Food

Grocers, restaurants press for delay on Calif. law that could deliver bacon shortage

A recently filed lawsuit in Sacramento looks to block California’s controversial “bacon law” from taking effect in January.

The lawsuit, filed by a coalition of California restaurants and grocery stores, seeks to block the implementation of the new farm animal welfare law.

The group argues most hog producers have not made the changes to comply with the law, and they are asking for a two-year delay.

If the law takes effect as scheduled on New Year’s Day, Iowa Pork Producers Association CEO Pat McGonegle said fresh pork products could be more expensive or in short supply on the West Coast.

“We just got the rules, the draft rules about a week ago, and the rule goes into effect, January 1,” McGonegle said. “A pork producer can’t move that quickly. So I think there’ll be a period of time where it’s going to be pretty chaotic. For pork producers, the marketplace, and for consumers in California.”

The law, which aims to improve the quality of life for livestock, could cost Iowa hog farmers millions of dollars.

Proposition 12 was passed by California voters in 2018. Part of the law says any pig sold in California, regardless of where it was raised, must have come from a breeding operation where sows had at least 24 square feet of space each.

Californians consume 15% of all pork produced in the United States, and Iowa leads the country in hog production.

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Staff reports from The San Joaquin Valley Sun staff.