Restaurant operator challenges Arizona cage-free egg law

Plaintiff says only the legislature is authorized to draft state laws, and not the agriculture department.

Roy Graber Headshot
Courtesy Pacific Legal Foundation
Courtesy Pacific Legal Foundation
Grant Krueger is challenging an Arizona state law that sets standards for selling eggs. He claims the Arizona Department of Agriculture does not have the proper authority to draft laws.

An Arizona restaurateur and the company he owns filed a lawsuit against the Arizona Department of Agriculture (AZDA), challenging a state law that requires all eggs sold in the state to come from operations with cage-free laying systems.

Grant Krueger owns and manages Union Hospitality Group, which operates five restaurants in Tucson. Krueger decided to pursue legal action because the law drives up the cost of eggs, which ultimately drives up the costs for him to conduct business.

Krueger estimates that Union Hospitality Group buys an average of 2,167 eggs per week.

The Pacific Legal Foundation and the Goldwater Institute and representing Krueger in lawsuit, which was filed in the Maricopa County Superior Court.

Following a ballot initiative that called for an end to the production and sale of caged eggs in Arizona, the AZDA drafted the law. Under the law, from October 1, 2022, through December 31, 2024, all eggs sold in the state must come from laying hens housed according to the agricultural cooperative United Egg Producers' (UEP) Animal Husbandry Guidelines, but hens must have at least one square foot (0.09 square meters) of usable floor space.

By January 1, 2025, all layers and eggs raised and sold in Arizona must be 100% cage free.

In a press release, Krueger expressed frustration because as a buyer of eggs, he did not have input in the process of the law being drafted. Neither did any elected officials in Arizona. The Arizona Constitution gives the power to make laws only to the legislature, and the AZDA egg rule is therefore unconstitutional, Krueger argues.

“I had no seat at the table for any of this,” said Krueger. “Unaccountable, unelected bureaucrats shouldn’t be able to arbitrarily impose these kinds of harmful mandates on small business owners like me.”

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