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USDA adds Prop 12-compliant hogs to report

US Department of Agriculture says it will begin reporting on hogs raised in compliance with animal confinement legislation, while British pork can now be certified to be sold in California.

Pork Meat
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The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said it will begin reporting on Proposition 12-compliant pork in its weekly swine report to provide pork industry stakeholders with the information necessary to make informed production and marketing decisions relating to hogs raised in compliance with animal confinement legislation (ACL).

USDA on November 16 said it will add a non-carcass merit premium for hogs raised in compliance ACL to the National Weekly Direct Swine Non-Carcass Merit Premium report.

In recent years, some states have passed laws restricting the use of gestation crates in hog production. In some cases, these laws also restrict the sale of animal products originating from any noncompliant operation, including from states where such bans are not in place. Among these is California’s Proposition 12 farm animal confinement initiative that sets conditions on the sale of pork meat in California regardless of where it was produced and includes the requirement that all products must be from pigs born to a sow housed in at least 24 square feet of space.

Under the Livestock Mandatory Reporting Program (LMR), USDA publishes non-carcass merit premiums paid for ACL-compliant hogs on the Non-Carcass Merit Premium report. These premiums are found under the “Other” category with other non-carcass characteristics such as antibiotic-free. The number of ACL-compliant merit premiums being submitted under LMR are sufficient for this information to be published under a separate category – Animal Confinement Legislation (ACL).

British pork now compliant with Prop 12

U.K. certification body NSF said this week that it has become one of the first to offer Prop 12 certification for British pork producers.

“NSF’s Prop 12 certification means British pork producers can now access the Californian market with greater confidence,” said Dale Newitt, director of supply chain food safety at NSF. “This aligns perfectly with NSF’s mission to improve and protect human health, as healthier animals mean safer, higher-quality meat for consumers. Despite accounting for nearly 15% of total U.S. pork consumption, California only produces 1% of it, making it heavily dependent on interstate and international imports. In 2022, the total import of pork in the U.S. exceeded GBP1.3 billion (US$1.6 billion), making the Prop 12 certification a significant market opportunity for U.K. pork producers.”

NSF also offers the unique advantage of bundled auditing, allowing Prop 12 and Red Tractor audits to happen simultaneously, which reduces the audit burden on British farmers, making certification more efficient and cost-effective.

“Bundled auditing is a game-changer for British farmers,” adds Dale. “By conducting Prop 12 and Red Tractor audits at the same time, we can cut down on the time and expenses usually associated with gaining these important certifications.”

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