December 8, 2021

Volume XI, Number 342

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December 07, 2021

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December 06, 2021

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Prop 12 Prevails over Constitutionality Complaints

  • On August 20, 2021, an Iowa federal judge dismissed a May 2021 lawsuit filed in Iowa federal district court by the Iowa Pork Producers Association (“IPPA”) and three Iowa pork companies, challenging the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 12 (“Prop 12”), California’s animal welfare law affecting food producing animals.  The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa granted California’s motion to dismiss after concluding that Iowa pork producers failed to establish that the court had personal jurisdiction over the California state officials named in the case.  Additionally, the court concluded that the complaint failed because Prop 12 applies generally to pork and veal production without regard to the state of origin.

  • As a recap from our 2019 blog post on Prop 12, California voters passed this law as a ballot initiative in the November 2018 election.  The new law established the standard for confinement of certain farm animals and bans the sale of eggs, veal, and pork products that do not comply with the new confinement standards.  The 2018 law amended the existing California Health and Safety Code provisions for Farm Animal Cruelty, regulating the treatment of farm animals.  Meat producers, farmers, and agricultural associations have repeatedly challenged the constitutionality of Prop 12, arguing that it violates the Constitution’s commerce clause by placing an undue burden on interstate commerce.

  • The dismissal in Iowa is another loss for the animal agricultural industry, as the courts dismissed a similar lawsuit in May 2020.  In addition, the North American Meat Institute (NAMI) failed to convince the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to ban the implementation of Prop 12 in late 2020, and the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of the NAMI case.  Prop 12 challenges continue, as Senators from Kansas, Iowa, Mississippi, and Texas recently introduced a bill, the Exposing Agricultural Trade Suppression Act (EATS Act), in August 2021, but the bill has yet to reach the Senate.

© 2021 Keller and Heckman LLPNational Law Review, Volume XI, Number 245
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About this Author

Keller and Heckman offers global food and drug services to its clients. Our comprehensive and extensive food and drug practice is one of the largest in the world. We promote, protect, and defend products made by the spectrum of industries regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the European Commission and Member States authorities in the European Union (EU) and similar authorities throughout the world. The products we help get to market include foods, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, veterinary products, dietary supplements, and cosmetics. In addition...

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