Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the measure that was introduced by Assemblyman Paul Krekorian after an incident involving downer cows that led to a massive voluntary beef recall in February.
Schwarzenegger called the measure a strengthening of California' overall food safety.
Krekorian said the law could be used nationwide to remove any financial incentive that packers might have for slaughtering sick animals.
Federal law allows the slaughter of downer animals after they are checked by a veterinarian and deemed "ambulatory."
From the August 4, 2008, Prepared Foods e-Flash