Foie gras can no longer be sold, court says
A federal appeals court reinstated California’s ban on foie gras Friday, finding that a state law preventing sales of the luxury liver pate made by force-feeding ducks and geese was not preempted by the federal government’s authority to regulate poultry products.
Animal rights activists and lawmakers who pushed the ban through the legislature said the process of fattening the livers of the animals was cruel and inhumane.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals celebrated the unanimous ruling by three judges and said it planned to protest outside an Hermosa Beach restaurant that put the delicacy on the menu when it won a ruling two years ago from a lower court judge who blocked the ban.
State lawmakers voted in 2004 to bar California farmers from force-feeding birds with a tube, which is how foie gras is produced. That part of the law, phased in over seven years, was not challenged.
But foie gras farmers in Canada and New York and Hot’s Kitchen in Hermosa Beach targeted a second part of the law that banned the delicacy produced out of state from being served in restaurants or sold in markets, arguing that state law was superseded by the federal Poultry Products Inspection Act.
The main question was whether the state was imposing its ban on an ingredient or a process.
“It is not the livers that are force-fed, it is the birds,” Judge Jacqueline Nguyen of the appeals court wrote.