Foie gras lawsuit filed as some restaurants keep serving the stuff

foie.jpgA trade group and a Socal restaurateur are challenging the state's ban on the duck-liver delicacy. The suit, filed in federal court, claims that a new law banning sales of foie gras is vague because it does not define the extent to which a goose can be force-fed. Ugh. The ban went into effect earlier this week. From Courthouse News Service:

Foie gras is made from the fattened liver of a duck or goose, usually by force-feeding corn to the bird. The fatty liver is believed to taste better than the liver of birds that are not force-fed. Animal lovers crusaded against force feeding, and persuaded the Legislature to ban it. California's bird feeding law, enacted through the Health and Safety Code, imposes a $1,000 per day penalty on anyone who force-feeds birds to enlarge their livers, effectively banning the delicacy in the state.

From the suit:

If this law remains in effect and is deemed to apply to plaintiffs, then California will become the only place in the world where the sale of, for example, foie gras - and every other product that is "the result of" ducks raised for their livers, including duck breast, duck fat, and even duck feathers - would be banned within its borders," the complaint states. As a result, the bird feeding law destroys both the retail and the wholesale markets for the sale of duck products in California and places a substantial burden on interstate and foreign commerce.

Meanwhile, the OC Register reports that some restaurateurs continue to use foie gras.

The day after California began banning the French delicacy foie gras in restaurants statewide, Antoine Price tossed a foie gras party Monday night at his San Clemente restaurant. Price didn't just include the banned dish in a gourmet $150 meal with wine that he offered his guests at Cafe Mimosa. He made foie gras - fatty liver from geese or duck - the centerpiece of all six dinner dishes. To top it off, it also was the dessert - foie gras wrapped in cotton candy on a stick. In a not-so-subtle jab at the ban, Price titled the evening's menu "Foie You!" He said he isn't concerned about a potential government response. "They can lock me up if they want," Price said. "I don't mind."

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
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