cbs13headerlogo-1 SPORTS1140HeaderLogo gooddayheaderlogo (1)

News

California’s Foie Gras Ban Gets Legal Challenge

View Comments
An order of 'Artisan Foie Gras and Liberty Farms Duck' by Mark Dommen of 'One Market' in San Francisco awaits being served at the "Melisse" eatery in Santa Monica, California, on May 14, 2012 as animal-rights activists held a protest outside. A simmering row between animal rights campaigners and a handful of California's top chefs is coming to the boil, ahead of a looming ban on foie gras in the western US states. Protesters took their message to the streets this week as a series of high-end restaurants staged events -- with menus including foie gras ice cream -- to celebrate the gastronomic delicacy.   (credit: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/GettyImages)

An order of ‘Artisan Foie Gras and Liberty Farms Duck’ by Mark Dommen of ‘One Market’ in San Francisco awaits being served at the “Melisse” eatery in Santa Monica, California, on May 14, 2012 as animal-rights activists held a protest outside. A simmering row between animal rights campaigners and a handful of California’s top chefs is coming to the boil, ahead of a looming ban on foie gras in the western US states. Protesters took their message to the streets this week as a series of high-end restaurants staged events — with menus including foie gras ice cream — to celebrate the gastronomic delicacy. (credit: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/GettyImages)

Don't Miss This

Get Breaking News First

Receive News, Politics, and Entertainment Headlines Each Morning.
Sign Up

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A first-of-its-kind ban on the sale of foie gras that went into effect in California this week is being challenged in court.

A Canadian exporter of the fattened duck liver delicacy, a foie gras producer based in New York state and a Southern California restaurateur filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday seeking to invalidate the new law, which prohibits products derived from force-fed birds.

Foie gras is made from goose or duck livers that were enlarged by force-feeding ducks through funnel-like tubes.

The lawsuit claims the California ban is vague, written so broadly that it also applies to skins, feathers and other by-products of ducks raised primarily for foie gras, and violates the U.S. Constitution’s commerce clause by affecting companies from outside the state. It seeks first a temporary, then permanent barring of the ban’s enforcement.

“The Bird Feeding Law does not provide any intelligible measure — such as weight, volume or caloric value — by which those involved in the feeding of ducks…may determine at what point a duck has been fed `more food’ than the statute allows such their duck products may continue to be sold in California,” according to the 19-page complaint.

The California Legislature passed the ban on producing and selling foie gras in 2004, but the law only went into effect on Sunday. Before it did, lawmakers had given the state’s only producer, Sonoma Artisan Foie Gras, time to come up with a cruelty-free way to fatten a duck’s liver, but a new method never materialized.

In the weeks leading up to the law’s July 1 start date, chefs and foie gras fans loaded up on the soon-to-be contraband food item with special menus, dinners and parties.

“Instead of keeping foie gras sales in California, the law pushes sellers of foie gras to bordering states where cottage industries will now be set up to get around the ban,” Rob Black, executive director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, said. “To prevent further confusion and save the time, money, and resources of already cash-strapped government agencies, an injunction is necessary.”

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

View Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus