Olson Remcho Wins Delay for Retailers in Implementation of Proposition 12 to Ensure Uninterrupted Access to Pork

California State Seal Sacramanto, California, Usa

Proposition 12, which was passed by California voters in 2018, imposed new restrictions on whole pork meat sales, making distributors and sellers in California liable for criminal and civil sanctions if they knowingly distribute or sell pork raised in a manner that is not in compliance with Prop 12, whether or not the pork was raised in state.  Implementation of the law had been delayed by several legal challenges, but on May 11, 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the proposition could go into effect.

Olson Remcho’s Tom WillisKaren Getman, and Inez Kaminski have been representing a group of restaurants, groceries, butchers and other retailers who had sought to stop the law from being enforced until the state  finalized regulations and implemented a system by which farmers can be certified for complying with Prop 12 and that certification can pass through the distribution chain, giving those end users a good faith defense against prosecution. They filed a lawsuit in Sacramento Superior Court, California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce vs. Ross, that resulted in a ruling on February 2, 2022, that California suppliers, restaurants and retailers would not be subject to enforcement of Proposition 12 until 180 days after the state enacts final regulations.  Plaintiffs include California Grocers Association, California Restaurant Association, California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, California Retailers Association and Kruse & Sons, a meat processor.

After the Supreme Court decision in May 2023, the parties in the lawsuit negotiated a stipulated judgment from the Court that allows for the  continued sale, through the end of the year, of pork products that were existing in the  supply chain as of July 1, 2023.  The stipulation provides the  pork industry more time to comply with the new law and reduces the risks that the supply of pork to California consumers will be interrupted.