Who wants to pay 41 percent more for food? No one. Yet a newly enacted California law is wrecking just that kind of havoc on citizens in the state — and it threatens to cause food prices to rise dramatically nationwide. Congress must act in this year’s Farm Bill to protect farmers and consumers.

California law Proposition 12 was passed in 2018 and went into effect in January. Prop 12 prohibits farmers nationwide from selling pork and eggs in California if they use common, veterinarian-approved animal husbandry practices.

Financed by animal rights activists, this ballot measure was cleverly marketed and effectively bans most pork produced in the United States from being sold in California.

California voters are now reaping what they sowed. And so are consumers nationwide.

Since January, Californians have been grappling with a staggering 20 percent increase in pork prices on average compared to other states. Even more alarming, the cost of pork loins has surged by 41 percent, and wholesale prices have jumped by 30 percent. Meanwhile, pork consumption has declined by 10 percent, highlighting the law’s profound effect on consumer behavior and market dynamics.

However, Proposition 12’s reach extends beyond California, creating a domino effect of higher costs nationwide.

Pork farmers across the country are now saddled with costs averaging around $3.5 million to comply with the California housing standards. This hefty price tag is not just a California problem; when the cost of producing pork goes up nationwide, the costs for consumers go up nationwide.

And that’s the problem. California’s interference with farming in other states creates a precedent for a patchwork of state laws across the country. Animal rights activists could lobby for different pork laws in other states to create even more market chaos. Or they could try to raise the cost of chicken and beef.

It won’t stop with meat, either. States could engage in trade wars to protect their farmers, such as Wisconsin and Vermont dairy farmers fighting for cheese supremacy. States could also get political, with some states declaring they’ll only sell produce from unionized farm labor and other states selling produce from non-unionized labor only.

A patchwork of state laws would create chaos for farmers. For consumers, it’s a recipe for higher costs and fewer choices.

The plight of family farms, which comprise the backbone of America’s agricultural landscape, is particularly concerning. Often operating on thin margins, these farms are ill-equipped to undertake costly adjustments required by laws like Proposition 12. This not only threatens their existence but also risks further consolidation in the agriculture sector, pushing the small farmer out of the market and into the annals of history.

Amid the economic fallout of Proposition 12, there’s a growing sense of buyer’s remorse. As prices soar, the basic necessity of putting food on the table has become an increasingly uphill battle for many families. For low-income Americans, the consequences of letting special interest groups set the menu for food policy are hitting home hard — right in the wallet at the grocery checkout line.

Calls for reform are bipartisan. House Agriculture Committee chair Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-Pa.) and President Biden’s agriculture secretary, Tom Vilsack, have voiced their concerns over the “chaos” Proposition 12 has sown in the marketplace.

In the current environment where both sides of the aisle rarely agree, this is one area where bipartisan common sense solutions can benefit working-class Americans. Even sow veterinarians, the experts in animal welfare, argue that the law is unnecessary, pointing to existing practices that effectively manage sows’ health and welfare without such drastic regulatory interventions.

States should not be allowed to create chaos at the supermarket. The coming Farm Bill presents a golden opportunity for lawmakers to address this issue head-on, to roll back the unintended consequences of Proposition 12, and to ensure that the legislation reflects the needs and realities of all Americans.