Prop 12 implementation delayed

Prop 12 implementation delayed
Jun 23, 2023

It won’t come into effect until the end of 2023

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

Proposition 12 won’t come into effect in California until the end of the year.

A Superior Court in Sacramento County granted a six-month delay, meaning the rule, which prohibits the sale of pork, eggs and other products that aren’t produced according to California’s standards, won’t take effect until Dec. 31, 2023.

The original implementation date was July 1.

This six-month grace period will help allow for a smoother transition and keep food on store shelves.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) “understands that there will necessarily be a period of transition,” part of the court order states. “CDFA reiterates that for the remainder of 2023, we intend to focus our limited implementation resources, not on covered products already in commerce…”

Industry groups are pleased with the extension.

Six additional months ensures customers will have product to choose from, but it doesn’t solve the overall issue, said Bryan Humphreys, CEO of the National Pork Producers Council.

“Granting six months of additional relief for products in the supply chain allows grocery stores to remain stocked so the 40 million Californians have uninterrupted access to affordable, safe and nutritious pork products, especially with rising food prices,” he said in a June 21 statement. “While this temporary solution does not solve the challenges and uncertainty California Proposition 12 brings to our industry, NPPC looks forward to working with Congress to find a permanent solution to this problem.”

California represents about 15 percent of the U.S. market for bacon and other pork products.

Producers who want to sell products to California will likely incur additional production costs.

In the case of pork, Prop 12 requires 24-square-feet of usable floor space per animal to all gilts at breeding, weaned sows and gestating gilts and sows.

Rabobank estimates farmers could pay up to $2,500 per sow to bring their barns up to California’s standards.

Increased costs could also lead to higher food prices.

“Rabobank expects a shortfall in compliant pork to bifurcate the US market, leaving California with a severe pork deficit (and high prices) while generating a surplus in the rest of the US market,” a 2021 report says.

Members of Congress are actively trying to stop California from having the authority to force Prop 12 on American farmers.

Senators recently introduced the Ending Agricultural Trade Suppression (EATS) Act.

Under this bill, a State government “shall not impose a standard or condition on the preharvest production of any agricultural products sold or offered for sale in inter-state commerce…”

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