The Associated Press reports California will begin enforcing an animal welfare law that requires more space for breeding pigs, egg-laying chickens and veal calves. However, the state hasn’t issued formal regulations on how the new standards will be enforced yet.
California’s restaurants and groceries use about 255 million pounds of pork a month, but it’s farms produce only 45 million pounds, according to Rabobank, a global food and agriculture financial services company.
It is possible that the courts intervene or the state temporarily allows non-compliant meat to be sold, but only 4% of pork producers comply with the new rules as of now. According to one estimate, pork producers will have to clear about 15% more per animal for a farm with 1,000 breeding pigs in order to meet the new standard.
“We are very concerned about the potential supply impacts and therefore cost increases,” Matt Sutton, the public policy director for the California Restaurant Association, told the AP.
According to a study by the consulting firm the Hatamiya Group, if the pork supply was suddenly lost in California, bacon prices would jump 60%, meaning a $6 package would rise to about $9.60.
“It is important to note that the law itself cannot be changed by regulations and the law has been in place since the Farm Animal Confinement Proposition (Prop 12) passed by a wide margin in 2018,” the California Department of Food and Agriculture said in response to questions from the AP.