Goodbye, Foie Gras!

The Wall Street Journal wrote about an important dish that’s part of California’s culture—the Foie Gras and its ban on Sunday.

 What has it boiled down to?

According to the article “California will ban foie gras sales starting Sunday but chefs are counting down their foie gras days by putting it anywhere they can. Some plan foie gras finale feasts on Saturday night. Others offer foie gras in cotton candy, cheesecake, waffles and toffee.”

What’s the short history behind this controversy?

The Wall Street Journal writes that the foie frenzy harks back to 2004, when California lawmakers bowed to animal-rights groups and passed a ban on foie gras sales, giving restaurants more than seven years to get over it. To achieve the buttery flavor and velvety texture of foie gras—French for ‘fat liver’—farmers force-feed ducks and geese (typically a Mulard duck or Toulouse goose) to enlarge their livers, prying open their esophagi and funneling food into them. Activists call such feeding torture. The 2004 law requires California to ‘prohibit a person from force-feeding a bird for the purpose of enlarging the bird’s liver beyond a normal size’ and bans sales of out-of-state foie gras, as well. Violators face fines of up to $1,000. It’s still legal to possess and eat foie gras.

Advocates for Foie Gras say…

Members of the Coalition for Humane and Ethical Farming Standards, or CHEFS, are lobbying lawmakers to rescind the ban. They say the feeding doesn’t bother ducks and geese because they don’t have the gag reflex human beings have; they swallow a fish in one gulp, for example. Ducks and geese have nothing to say for themselves. The CHEFS group vows to keep fighting for a repeal.


*Duckeasies – diners can order foie gras using certain code words.
*Faux gras option – in 2010, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals offered $10,000 for the best vegan fake-foie-gras recipe. The winner was made from mushrooms, margarine and soymilk.

California’s only foie gras farm, Sonoma-Artisan Foie Gras, is essentially sold out, says owner Guillermo Gonzalez. A rumor surfaced among chefs that the farm may move to Nevada to keep selling to foie-friendly states—and to Californians who might sneak across the border to get some.

Read the entire article, here.

Do you think this ban will be repealed in the future? Share your thoughts, below.

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