ATLANTA – During the Meat Industry Regulatory Update and Compliance session at IPPE 2020, North American Meat Institute (NAMI) Senior Vice President of Regulatory and Scientific Affairs, General Counsel, Mark Dopp, laid out California’s Proposition 12 ballot initiative and NAMI’s stance on it. Also, he discussed NAMI’s policies regarding how alternative proteins should be labeled on consumer packaging.

Proposition 12 creates new standards for housing veal calves, breeding pigs and egg laying hens. The current law requires ability for animals to “…turn around freely, lie down, stand up and full extend their limbs.” Prop 12 suggests beginning in 2020, egg laying hens have 1 sq. ft. of floor space and veal calves have 43 sq. ft. of floor space. Also, for 2022 it adds cage-free housing for egg laying hens and 24 sq. ft. of floor space for breeding pigs.

The measure also makes it illegal for California businesses to sell uncooked cuts (veal and pork) not meeting the standard whether raised in California or elsewhere.

NAMI filed a lawsuit on the grounds that the proposition discriminates against out of state producers, intends to control out of state producers and unduly burdens interstate commerce. A preliminary injunction motion was denied, which Dopp expected. NAMI appealed to US Court of Appeals 9th Circuit and plans to comment again on Jan. 31.

The National Pork Producers Council and The American Farm Bureau Federation have both filed separate lawsuits in the Southern District of California.

Dopp said the key issues regarding alternative proteins were what to call plant-based products and oversight of production/processing of cell-based products. Dopp said NAMI’s stance on cell-based alternatives was joint oversight from both the US Dept. of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration.

Regarding plant-based alternatives, Dopp referred to San Francisco-based Plant Based Food Associations website which contains a list of the association’s suggestions.

“Some of them we like, and some of them we don’t,” Dopp said. “NAMI just wants a level playing field between meat, plant-based and cell-based.”