Indiana is one of more than a dozen states that want the U.S. Supreme Court to block a California law requiring any eggs sold there to come from hens that have space to stretch out in their cages.
The Missouri attorney general says a lawsuit will be filed Monday alleging California’s law has cost consumers nationwide up to $350 million annually because of higher egg prices since it took effect in 2015.
But Hoosier Environmental Council attorney Kim Ferraro says that number doesn’t tell the whole story.
“It doesn’t really capture the externalities on society that go into producing cheap food, or in this case, cheap eggs.”
She says raising hens in cages can lead to environmental problems and health problems, like salmonella and antibiotic resistance.
The lawsuit claims California’s requirements violate the U.S. Constitution’s interstate commerce clause and are pre-empted by federal law.
A federal appeals court panel rejected similar claims last year in a separate case brought by six states. The Missouri attorney general says the new lawsuit is bolstered by an economic study.
Robert Krouse is the President of Midwest Poultry Services. He says the California law has not impacted his business, but he’s worried about the implications for interstate commerce in the future.
“If every individual state can throw up barriers for what can be sold in their state, it really does interrupt interstate trade,” he says.
Other plaintiffs are Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah and Wisconsin.
The Associated Press and Nick Janzen contributed to this report.