JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster is suing California over its egg production law.
By 2015, California egg producers are required to meet production standards regarding the size of enclosures housing egg-laying hens. The law, Proposition 2, was a ballot initiative passed in 2008 that bars California farmers from using some agricultural production methods that are in widespread use in the agriculture industry.
Koster, who filed the lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, argues that the law violates the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. The provision gives Congress exclusive power over trade among the states, with foreign countries and Indian tribes.
Koster noted that 1.7 billion eggs are produced annually in Missouri, and approximately 540 million of those eggs are sold in California. He added that Missouri egg producers face an estimated $120 million in capital improvement costs and a 20 percent increase in production costs to comply with California's Proposition 2.
“California has placed restrictions on the sale or transfer of a commodity based on production methods that have nothing to do with the health or safety of California consumers,” Koster said in a statement. “If California legislators are permitted to mandate the size of chicken coops on Missouri farms, they may just as easily demand that Missouri soybeans be harvested by hand or that Missouri corn be transported by solar-powered trucks.”