California Could See Bacon Shortage Due To New Animal-Welfare Rules


Bacon lovers in California have much reason to be anxious, as reports have indicated that new animal welfare laws coming into effect could lead to supply issues and price increases in the state.

It all started back in 2018 when Proposition 12, a prop that specified minimum square footage for containment facilities used in the production of meat products sold in California, passed through overwhelming voter support.

The prop's provisions affecting beef and chicken started to take effect in 2020 without much interruption to their markets. However, for pig suppliers — most of which are in Iowa — the requirements have been more disruptive to their industry.


[O]nly 4% of hog operations now comply with the new rules. 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 …

The looming supply drop affects bacon prices, and would cause them to soar 60 percent, a marked uptick for households but a price surge that deeply affects restaurants.

Pork suppliers are asking for federal aid to help their farms get retrofitted to meet Prop 12 standards. However, if they're not able to, then suppliers will likely lose California as a market, albeit temporarily. This then causes a troubling domino effect that starts with pork prices catapulting, with shortages and outages likely to follow.