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Iowa leaders strike back against California law that limits sale of eggs

This news story was published on April 8, 2014.
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DES MOINES – Following Governor Terry Branstad’s lead, the Iowa House of Representatives late last week passed a resolution attempting to strike down a California law that thwarts the sale and use of eggs in that state that were not produced on farms meeting California standards.

Iowa capitol

Iowa capitol

On April 3, the Iowa House of Representatives passed House Resolution 123, which requests immediate action be taken by the State of California, the United States Congress, the United States Attorney General, state legislatures, and others to effectuate the repeal of the California legislation. The resolution says that the California act (AB61437) “unconstitutionally infringes upon the Commerce Clause of the Constitution of the United States to the detriment of this nation’s consumers and farmers”.

California act AB61437 prohibits California farmers from employing a number of agricultural production methods in widespread use throughout the United States, including the use of industry standards used in egg production and requires other states to comply with California’s standards in order to continue to market eggs in that state.

California law states that on January 1, 2015, a shelled egg cannot be sold or contracted to sell for human consumption in California if the egg was produced on a farm not meeting California standards.

Also on April 3, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey issued a statement thanking the Iowa House of Representatives for passing its resolution.

“I commend the Iowa House for standing with farmers in a strong bipartisan way to oppose California’s unconstitutional law to dictate production methods to farmers in Iowa or any other state. I appreciate the leadership by our Governor, Attorney General and the Iowa House to protect the rights of our farmers to sell their safe eggs in all 50 states.”

Gov. Branstad in March joined a multi-state lawsuit challenging California’s action.

Gov. Terry Branstad

Gov. Terry Branstad

Branstad, along with other five other states, argues that California’s egg-production law is unconstitutional and violates the commerce clause.

“The burdensome law from the State of California effectively regulates the industry across state lines, hurts Iowa agriculture and is detrimental to Iowa egg producers,” said Branstad. “Iowa is by far the leading egg producing state in the nation. This law is an unwarranted burden being imposed on Iowa’s producers by another state and violates the interstate commerce clause of the United States Constitution.”

Iowa’s egg farmers lead the nation in egg production by producing nearly 15 billion eggs per year. Almost one out of every five eggs produced in the United States are produced in Iowa. The Iowa egg industry contributes about $2 billion in total sales and impacts about 8,000 jobs.

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