Transformation of California’s Meat Processing Capacity

As COVID-19 has fully revealed, the concentration of slaughter and packing facilities by large corporations and outdated regulations harm workers, livestock producers and consumers. We are doing something about it.

The UC Davis Food Systems Lab has contracted ROC to assist in its development of use cases that analyze food supply chains with aim of improving resilience, social equity and rural economic health. ROC is leading the work on a meat processing supply chain use case. Federal and state regulations favor the large companies and strangle small and mid-size producers seeking to serve regional and specialty markets. This effort involves interviewing a large group of state and national stakeholders, aggregating existing data sets, analyzing findings. These results will be presented to interested actors and will include potential intervention points designed to make the meat processing sector safer for workers, more profitable for producers, additive to rural economies and more dependable for and trusted by consumers.

In tandem, but with alternative funding, ROC is co-leading an advocacy campaign in collaboration with California Certified Organic Farmers to update the regulations so there are a wider set of processing options that are more rationally distributed up and down the state. We believe this will help to protect workers in processing facilities, provide producers more affordable processing options, create jobs in rural communities and improve the resilience of the meat supply chain. The UC Davis Food Systems Lab and UC Cooperative Extension are providing research and technical assistance to ensure evidence-based solutions can be provided.