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Chefs React to California Foie Gras Ban

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Chefs React to California Foie Gras Ban
Photo The French Laundry/Twitter

Chefs in California have reacted angrily to a Federal appeal court’s decision to reinstate the State’s foie gras ban, which was first enacted in 2012, before being overturned three years later.

The ban had been inactive since 2015, when foie gras producers successfully filed a lawsuit arguing that it interfered with Federal law. While production remained banned, the ban on sales was lifted. But, last Friday, judges of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favour of a total ban.

The controversial delicacy, made from the engorged livers of ducks and geese that have been force fed, will now have to be removed from restaurant menus and store shelves, though there will be a grace period to allow for the appeals process to run its course.

While animal right campaigners have hailed the decision, several chefs have voiced their anger. Speaking to the Los Angeles Times, chef Eric Greenspan said: “Let’s ban assault rifles before we ban foie gras if you want to talk about cruelty … Don’t eat it if you don’t want to, but don’t impede on anyone’s rights to do what they want to do.” Also speaking to the Times, Mélisse’s Josia Citrin said he will adapt, but that he didn’t like “being told what we can and can’t use.” Chef Ken Frank of Le Toque restaurant in Napa told the San Francisco Chronicle that the ban is a "terrible piece of legislation."

The Coalition for Humane and Ethical Farming Standards (CHEFS) and New York-based Hudson Valley Foie Gras in New York wil both be appealing the decision, they say.

Foie gras has featured on the menus of some of the State’s best restaurants, including Manresa and The French Laundry. Watch chef Dan Barber, below, explain how he stumbled upon a humane foie gras producer in rural Spain

Here's a complete list of where foie gras is banned around the world

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