Sunday 1st July sees the selling of foie gras banned in California. In 2004 then Governor of California Arnold Schwarznegger approved plans to make illegal the sale of food derived from force feed[ing of] a bird for the purpose of enlarging the bird’s liver beyond normal size”.
The production of foie gras has been the cause of controversy for some time as it involves the force-feeding of birds, usually geese or duck, with more food than they would eat in the wild, and more than they would voluntarily eat domestically. This process is said to produce a buttery taste to the livers of the bird thanks to the large amount of fat present. It’s a technique that goes back millennia to the days of ancient Greece but it’s typically associated with France, the largest producer of this delicacy in the world. Critics say the process of force feeding via a tube down the birds throat for a period of two to three weeks before they are killed is cruel and painful.
Many chefs and aficionados of foie gras in California don’t agree with this ruling – they want to see an enforcement of ethical production however such a plan has not been implemented by California’s foie gras producers and California will become the first but probably not the last state in the US to ban this food product.