Bacon May Soon Get More Expensive and Vanish in This State
Almost three years ago, one western state asked voters to weigh in on a proposition that would require farmers to provide breeding animals such as pigs with more space. The measure, which passed with a resounding "yes," will finally go into effect this winter. And it could mean that not only California voters but also consumers across the U.S. will have to pay more for bacon at the grocery store.
Only 4% of farms are currently compliant with the rules established in Proposition 12, according to the Associated Press (AP). And there's little time left to build new facilities—these new rules become law as soon as the clock strikes midnight on Jan. 1.
"Unless the courts intervene or the state temporarily allows non-compliant meat to be sold in the state, California will lose almost all of its pork supply, much of which comes from Iowa, and pork producers will face higher costs to regain a key market," Scott McFetridge writes for the AP.
California-based eateries and grocers move nearly 255 million pounds of pork every single month, Rabobank, a food and agriculture financial services company, told the AP. However, farms within the Golden State only produce 45 million pounds of pork on their own.
The news outlet also quoted a study by the Hatamiya Group, which found that prices would increase by 60% if half of the state's pork supply disappears. "We are very concerned about the potential supply impacts and therefore cost increases," Matt Sutton, the public policy director for the California Restaurant Association, said.
The new rules are a victory for advocates of animal welfare, but the associated costs may impact minority communities particularly hard. "Our No. 1 seller is bacon, eggs, and hash browns," Jeannie Kim, who runs San Francisco's SAMS American Eatery, revealed to the AP. "It could be devastating for us."
"You know, I work and live with a lot of Asian and Hispanic populations in the city and their diet consists of pork. Pork is huge," Kim added. "It's almost like bread and butter."
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