Chickens MSU Extension Service Kat Lawrence
California lawmakers want all eggs sold in the state by 2024 to come from cage-free poultry operations.

California pushes for complete cage-free implementation

California lawmakers want all eggs sold in the state to come from cage-free operations by 2024

A state bill introduced in Sacramento will require all eggs produced and sold in California to be cage-free by Jan. 1, 2024. The bill, AB 3021, is authored by Assembly members Marc Levine, D-San Franciso; Rudy Salas, D-Bakersfield; and, Jose Medina, D-Riverside.

The bill recognizes the United Egg Producers cage-free national standards so farmers will know years in advance what is required to comply with the proposed law, and the legislation seeks to stagger the implementation of the hen housing requirements to ensure a steady supply while minimizing price volatility. Proponents argue the staggered approach will help maintain a ready supply of California compliant eggs and minimize any impacts on supply or price for California’s consumers.

Chad Gregory, President and CEO of United Egg Producers, praised AB 3021 stating, “By using UEP cage-free national standards and staggering the implementation of the requirements, this legislation should give enough time for farmers across the country that want to serve California’s cage free market to convert while negating any supply issues and price impacts.”

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, more than 72 percent of the nation’s food, retail, hospitality, food service and food manufacturing businesses have committed to serve and sell cage-free eggs, with many of those targeting 2025 for exclusive use of cage-free eggs.

Under the bill’s requirements, all hens must be provided at least 144 square inches of space on Jan. 1, 2020, progressing to full cage free production by Jan. 1, 2024.

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