California restaurants and supermarkets will be required to import only eggs produced in compliance with the 2008 ballot measure Proposition 2, or Prop 2, according to legislation that has now passed the California General Assembly and is heading to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for his signature.
Prop 2 requires that hens have sufficient space to sit down, stand up, turn around and extend their wings without touching an enclosure, which effectively makes conventional cage production systems in California illegal when the law takes effect in 2015. The measure passed with two-thirds of the vote and is already driving egg producers out of California.
Many speculated that California, already an egg-deficit state, simply would import eggs produced in cage operations elsewhere in the country, but assembly member Jared Huffman introduced AB 1437, which requires buyers to make sure imported eggs meet Prop 2 standards. Violations would carry fines of up to $1,000 and jail terms of up to 180 days, according to the bill.