The food industry and Massachusetts regulators have agreed to settle a lawsuit (Massachusetts Restaurant Association v. Healey et al.) challenging the state’s animal welfare pork rules, with the state agreeing not to enforce the transshipment provisions.
The law included a provision that animal welfare restrictions would not be limited to pork consumed in-state, but would extend to shipments of covered products moving through the state that were not Massachusetts-compliant.
The plaintiffs sued the state in August 2022, but the case was paused in anticipation of the Supreme Court decision for Prop 12. The Court upheld Prop 12, and the Massachusetts parties later agreed to stay their case until August 23rd, as there were still unresolved issues in their challenge.
One of the more critical developments to come from the August 4th joint stipulation is that the parties agreed that the state will issue regulations clarifying that the pork rules do not apply to sales of whole pork meat in Massachusetts when the meat is both produced outside of the state and sold to out-of-state consumers, referred to as “transshipped whole pork meat.”
Besides the transshipped pork provision, the rest of the pork rules will go into effect August 24, 2023.