August 9, 2023

MA Pork Regulations & Enforcement Effective Aug. 24

The long-delayed MA Pork Regulations (330 CMR 35.00) are now slated to take effect on August 24, 2023, after a compromise was agreed to and approved in a joint motion in federal court between regulators at the MA Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR), the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and other industry groups.  The agreement paves the way for the implementation of Question 3 from 2016, Relative to the Housing of Farm Animals, and the resulting MA regulations, specifically as they relate to pork. 
Question 3, approved by the voters in 2016, banned the sale of eggs, veal and pork products produced by cage-confined farm animals.  The egg and veal portions of the law and regulations took effect last year, while the treatment of pork remained in dispute and tied up in the courts.
One remaining unresolved issue is the treatment of pork products “transshipped” through Massachusetts and on the way for final sale in other states.  Enforcement of restrictions on "transshipped" pork meat will not begin for at least six months, while MDAR considers additional regulatory changes on transshipment.
MA retailers and restaurants may no longer sell any whole pork meat derived from animals that were housed in a non-compliant manner.  Food products considered “combination products," where pork is just one ingredient, such as hot dogs, are not included.
RAM has requested from MDAR additional compliance information and guidance for retailers and restaurants, who will be reliant on suppliers’ assurances that their products are compliant.
RAM and others remain concerned that by the end of the year MA consumers (and CA) will begin to see price increases and decreasing availability of compliant pork products on store shelves.

Sales Tax Holiday Reminder for August 12-13

RAM members are reminded that the Annual Massachusetts Sales Tax Holiday is set for August 12-13.  The annual consumer tax incentive suspends the sales tax for individual purchases of single items of tangible personal property costing $2,500 or less, with certain exceptions. 
Click here to review the Department of Revenue's rules governing the Sales Tax Holiday.