It is now officially illegal to eat Foie Gras in California – actually, the sale and production are banned so, in essence, the eating. Writing that just seems wrong and bizarre.
As one diner in California commented: “I never thought I’d see the day when I can smoke pot in California but not eat foie gras.”
The bill was passed in 2004 and gave the industry eight years to adapt before the law took affect. As of July 1, 2012, those caught selling foie gras produced through force feeding face fines of $1,000. My mind wanders to the possibilities of what this could create – A foie gras black market? Underground restaurants with all foie gras menus that set up in secret locations? California Highway Patrol tossing vehicles for illegal foie gras crossing state lines??
“It’s not a ban on foie gras, it’s a ban on animal cruelty,” says John Burton, chairman of the California Democratic Party. John Burton is the genius that authored the ban when he was in the State Senate. Burton has pretty strong feelings on the topic (which cause me to wonder about his inner Freudian duck issues) – “I’d like to sit all 100 of them (chefs legally opposing the ban) down and have duck and goose fat – better yet, dry oatmeal – shoved down their throats over and over and over again,” he told the San Francisco Chronicle in April.
In a state that is facing huge unemployment rates and a domino progression of cities that are declaring bankruptcy, California apparently does not think it has anything more important to worry about besides Foie Gras.
Smart businesses have actually decamped and left the state of California over the insane ban -
From Laurel Pine, owner of Mirepoix USA, an online seller of fine foods:
“Foie gras is probably about 40 percent of our business,” she says. Pine’s business used to be based in the San Francisco Bay Area, but she has decamped to Reno, Nevada, because of the upcoming ban.
“I think it is the beginning of an agenda to really limit what people eat, and to try to change people’s eating habits to not eat meat.”
She told Reuters that her sales have actually boomed to nearly four times the normal amount in the last month as people begin hoarding foie gras.
Chefs and others in the industry, including well-known Chef Thomas Keller who will be affected by the ban, answered the outlawed Foie Gras with legal measures:
Days after a foie gras ban came into force in California, a Los Angeles restaurant group and others have filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the bill outlawing the controversial gastronomic delicacy.
Hot’s Restaurant Group, Canada’s Association des Eleveurs de Canards et d’Oies du Quebec and New York-based producer Hudson Valley Foie Gras claim the ban is “unconstitutional, vague and interferes with federal commerce laws.”
Those of us who swoon for Foie Gras and understand the humane standards that can be upheld in the foie gras process can support the repeal of the ban in California by standing with the Coalition for Humane and Ethical Farming Standards (CHEFS) and signing a letter to the California legislature.
I have a solution for the state of California and Nutter Activists everywhere:
If you don’t like foie gras and how it is made, then don’t eat it. When you want to take away MY right to eat it, then we have a problem. Once this begins, more will follow.
As for me, I will be placing an order with Mirepoix, raise a toast to California this week by eating Foie Gras and spread the word far and wide about CHEFS.
More Foie Gras Please.