California Meat Processing Progress: Time for Change!
In another key accomplishment this year, ROC worked with UC Davis Food Systems Lab and a coalition of stakeholders, co-led by our ally CCOF, to produce this white paper related to the challenges and opportunities in the small- and mid-scale supply chain for high quality, healthy meat and poultry. Our report is out and having impact already! See my Opinion Editorial in the Sacramento Bee co-authored with chef-ally Patrick Mulvaney (Mulvaney’s B&L). And here is what UC Davis and Public Health Institute have said about the white paper. In both the paper and editorial, we make specific recommendations that include regulatory changes, public and private investments. One example is our call for CDFA and legislator support for AB 888, authored by Marc Levine (San Rafael). Embraced by CDFA, the bill will allow small-scale producers to slaughter more sheep, goats and hogs on their farms. This is less stressful on the animals and less expensive for the farmer. The Legislature passed the bill and sent it to the Governor for signature.
If applied our recommendations will bring more prosperity, health, safety and climate action: outcomes that will serve all Californians. Opportunities abound due to very recent changes at USDA and the increasing focus of policy makers in Sacramento. We are thrilled to have had constructive engagement with the CA Department of Food and Agriculture staff responsible for meat and poultry safety. We are not stopping there. Our niche meat processing and AB 125 coalitions will continue to work with CDFA, the California Legislature (particularly Assembly Ag Committee Chair Robert Rivas), USDA and Congress to expand markets and aid custom exempt processors, farmers and ranchers focused on regenerative, organic and local meat and poultry production.