Following on from the State of California's decision for an outright ban on foie gras back in 2012, Israel's givernment officials recently met to discuss the state becoming only the second place in the world to ban the import and sale of the food.
The proposal to ban foie gras in Israel was made alongside animal righst groups and sponsored by MK Dov Lipman, who said: “Israeli society decided years ago to stop the force-feeding of animals, in order to put an end to the torture of animals that this leads to. We should thus also ban the sale of foie gras."
Foie gras, although seen by many as a delicacy, is one of the most controversial foods on the market due to the way in which Geese are force fed to fatten their livers, a process called gavaging and one that many deem to be animal cruelty.
The debate to ban foie gras has been ongoing for over 10-years in Israel with decisions made in 2003 to ban production inside the state. The decision was later deferred until 2005, at the time Israel was the world's third largest producer of foie gras behind France and Hungary. Initial proposals for the latest bill had called for a ban on the sale and import, however after appeals and further changes, the new legilsation, which was passed with 59 members of the Knesset in favor and 10 opposed, will include amendements banning the trade of foie gras and allowing the import of the food for personal consumption.
The history of foie gras is rooted in the Middle East, dating back 5,000 years to the Egyptian Pharaohs. It has been a Jewish food tradition throughout history and is thought to have spread across Europe with the Jewish diaspora. The ban puts Israel alongside California as the second place in the world to ban the sale and import of the food, however, pressure is increasing for other countries to follow.
In California one chef who fought the ban was threatened by animal rights protesters. It's a food that will always spark strong debate, a debate that always centers on an out-right ban and rarely on alternative humane production methods such as those presented by chef Dan Barber at Ted.
Eduardo Sousa from Spain is seen as one of the leading figures in humane foie gras production taking an entirely different approach. Sousa produces purely natural foie gras by letting his geese gorge on foods as the winter arrives, something they do naturally. His family have been producing the food this way since 1812 and in 2006 he won the coveted Coup de Coeur French food award, one of the highest accolades in food production.
There's also a video of Sousa below this from The Perennial Plate.