15 Sep 2014
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Foie Gras Ban Prompts French Boycott Threat

California wine should be boycotted, says a French politician from an area known for its foie gras, the goose liver delicacy that became illegal in California July 1. What do you think of the foie gras ban? Take our poll and tell us in the comments.

Foie Gras Ban Prompts French Boycott Threat Foie Gras Ban Prompts French Boycott Threat Foie Gras Ban Prompts French Boycott Threat Foie Gras Ban Prompts French Boycott Threat

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The statewide ban on foie gras, the liver delicacy emblematic of fine dining, has prompted a backlash in France.

The move so outraged a politician in the Gers region near the Pyrenees mountains, an agricultural area known for goose foie gras, that he calls for a ban on all California wine.

"I call on all the restaurants in France that sell Californian wine to stop doing so in a show of solidarity for our foie gras makers and, more broadly, for all food makers," said Philippe Martin, the president of the Gers general council.

France produces more than 16,000 tons of foie gras annually, about two-thirds of the product sold globally. The French consume 75 percent of the world's foie gras.

And while California produces 90 percent of U.S. wine exports, the proposed French boycott is expected to be little more than a symbolic gesture.

"There's not going to be a lot of California wine to boycott," SFGate quoted Napa Valley Vintners spokesman Terry Hall as saying. "France is a major producer. They're not keen on a lot of imports, especially from California."

A fatty delicacy, foie gras is created by force feeding ducks and geese to create a plump and tender organ. Animal lovers argue that the force feeding, which ultimately results in an almost 10 times larger liver, is cruel and causes animals unusual emotional distress.

Foie gras was banned in California effective July 1, in a bill passed eight years ago by the California legislature (and signed into law by that epicurean executive Arnold Schwarzenegger).  

Although chefs and customers alike complain that their tradition is being sacrificed on the altar of political correctness, there's no strong movement in the works to repeal this prohibition.

However, Napa chef of Michelin-starred  restaurant has spoken out against the ban, writing in the Los Angeles Times that he believes the California law will "create the biggest black market since Prohibition" and remove any incentive to treat the birds well.

Frank advocates repealing the state ban and imposing "the world’s highest standards for humane foie gras," he wrote.

"I’m advocating a 'win-win,'" continued Frank.

"Every chef I know supports humane farming," he wrote. 

Do you agree? Take our poll and tell us in the comments.

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