KANSAS CITY, MO. – In June, the US Supreme Court denied, without comment, the North American Meat Institute’s (NAMI) petition to review its appeal challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 12, California’s animal confinement law that will go into force in 2022. NAMI vowed to keep up the fight against the law and began consulting its members as to next steps the industry should take.
Prop 12 establishes specific minimum requirements for confinement of laying hens, breeding pigs and veal calves. Beginning in 2022, sows will need a minimum of 24 square feet of usable space per animal. Prop 12 also prohibits the sale in California of all products from animals not raised in compliance with the new rules, regardless of their origin. The legislation is limited to uncooked commodity pork such as cured, preserved or flavored. It does not include cooked products.
In 12 pages of comments submitted to the California Department of Food and Agriculture on July 13, NAMI said the proposed rules for Proposition 12 are burdensome, complex and unworkable providing no food safety or animal welfare benefit.
The rules, if finalized, would create a bureaucratic labyrinth of regulatory provisions such as:
- an almost unworkable annual certification of veal and sow facilities;
- an overly complex accreditation process for entities allowed to certify those facilities;
- detailed recordkeeping requirements on producers and throughout the supply chain;
- problematic labeling provisions; and
- legally questionable enforcement authority.
“The proposed rule by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) admits there are no benefits to Californians as a result of Prop 12 and admits the deaths of breeding sows will increase,” said Mark Dopp, NAMI’s senior vice president of Regulatory & Scientific Affairs and General Counsel. “Multiple sections of the rule should be withdrawn or significantly revised.”
The high court has declined to settle this issue, so what lies ahead for producers? Is there still time for producers to comply?
MEAT+POULTRY caught up with Christine McCracken, senior analyst-Animal Protein at Rabobank, and Jeff Tripician, president of Perdue Premium Meat Company, which owns Coleman Natural pork brand, to get some insights into the opportunities and challenges of complying with California’s Prop 12.