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Brazil’s largest city Sao Paolo has banned the production and sale of foie gras. The city’s restaurants will have 45 days to adapt to the new ruling, after which they will receive a heavy fine should foie gras appear on their menu. Reactions to the ban in Sao Paolo have been polarised. 2 Michelin starred chef Alex Atala, of Sao Paulo restaurant D.O.M., currently 9th position on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, called the ban "absurd".
Speaking to UOL news portal, he added: "How can a city regulate what a person eats? Where will it all end? Gastronomy is good for tourism and instead of restricting it, they should promote it." Meanwhile City Councilman Laercio Benko has attacked foie gras’s credentials and unnecessary animal cruelty, according to The Associated Press, he said: "Foie gras is an appetizer for the wealthy. It does not benefit human health and to make it, the birds are submitted to a lot of suffering."
A controversial delicacy, ‘foie gras’ (from the French for ‘fatty liver’) is essentially an over-sized liver produced from either ducks or geese. Most foie gras production is currently in France. The liver is enlarged through a specific feeding technique known as the ‘gavage’ or ‘force-feeding’ of the birds where a tube channels feed directly from the throat to the stomach.
Sao Paulo joins several other countries who have banned the production of foie gras including Britain, Germany, Italy and Argentina. The USA has more contentious history with the delicacy where a 2 year bans imposed in both Chicago and California were lifted.
A humane production technique for foie gras does exist and is already practiced by pioneering Spanish farmer Pateria de Sousa: click here to read more about it.