Tag Archives: foie gras

Foie Gras Shortage After Bird Flu Outbreak

Expect soaring prices and shortages when it comes to foie gras, warned Jean-Jacques Caspari, managing director of Rougie (a brand of the world’s largest foie gras maker Euralis). Due to the outbreak of the highly virulent H5N1 bird flu virus last November, Caspari estimates that the foie gras industry still has 12 to 18 months to full recovery. This does not bode well for fans of the fatty and somewhat controversial (see below) delicacy.

“We can expect an increase in the price of foie gras of between 10 and 20 percent,” noted Caspari, who added that this year would see a 25 percent drop in production. Exports are also expected to drop from 4,560 tonnes in 2015 to 3,160 tonnes this year, which translates to an estimated loss of 270 million euros ($300 million) for the industry.

While a potential cause of despair for France (which usually produces a whopping 75 percent of the world’s foie gras), this may be good news for rival producers like Hungary and Bulgaria. The latter are now expected to make inroads where France has halted export.

Even sans the current supply issue, foie gras has not been without controversy, with the delicacy a battleground between campaigners of animal rights and defenders of French traditional gourmet fare. Regardless, French abattoirs will be allowed to continue producing foie gras come August 16, when new force-fed birds (that’s how foie gras is produced) will be available for slaughter.

Japan Bans Foie Gras Imports Over Bird Flu Virus

Japan has banned imports of French foie gras due to a bird flu outbreak, an agriculture ministry official said December 4. Altogether, eight countries have so far announced sweeping bans of French poultry products, including China, South Korea, Thailand, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. EU nations have not imposed controls, having accepted France’s containment measures.

The Japanese ban, which became effective November 26, will be lifted 90 days after all affected French poultry farms finish culling their birds and conclude necessary sanitary procedures, the official told AFP.

Japan took action to stop imports of French poultry and live birds after the European Commission confirmed birds at a French chicken farm were infected with the H5N1 strain.

However, French poultry products made before October 23 can be imported, the official said, citing a three-week incubation period for the virus.

“Products that were made after that date are banned to prevent the virus from entering into Japan,” he said.

“We are relying on the French authorities to give us information. We would lift the import ban 90 days after the affected farms finish culling their birds and go through full disinfection,” he said.

For the first eight months of this year Japan was the top global importer of foie gras, according to a French industry group.

France produces 75 percent of global foie gras and the country exported 4,934 tonnes of it in 2014.

Algeria, China, Egypt, Japan, Morocco, South Korea, Thailand and Tunisia banned French poultry imports following the outbreak last month in the southwestern area of Dordogne, said Loic Evain, deputy head of the French agriculture ministry’s food division.

“The list is not exhaustive,” Evain said Thursday, but does not include France’s 27 European Union partners, who have accepted containment measures proposed by Paris under World Health Organization guidelines.

“Unfortunately some countries’ first reaction is to close their borders and only then to discuss” strategy, Evain said.

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Sao Paulo judge lifts ban on sale of foie gras

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A judge in Sao Paulo on Wednesday suspended a law banning the production and sale of foie gras within Brazil’s largest city, after restaurant owners voiced strong objections to the measure.

Judge Sergio Rui has “temporarily suspended” the law for further review and requested additional information from the mayor and the Sao Paulo city council, justice officials told AFP.

The foie gras ban was signed into law late last month by Mayor Fernando Haddad, much to the dismay of the city’s chefs and restaurateurs.


The measure, which has been praised by animal rights activists, was to have gone into effect in August.

Foie gras was banned on grounds of cruelty to geese that are fattened up to provide the liver used to make the delicacy.


The law would have imposed a fine equivalent to up to $1,900 against restaurants that flout the ban.

The measure was approved over the strenuous objections of the Brazilian Association of Culinary Professionals, which has defended foie gras as a “cultural tool of world gastronomy.”

The group circulated an online petition maintaining that a foie gras ban would give a black eye to Sao Paulo’s reputation as one of the world’s top gastronomic destinations.

The group also maintained that food legislation should be the purview of federal authorities, not local government.

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Sao Paulo Bans Foie Gras in Restaurants

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Sao Paulo has become the latest destination to deem foie gras unethical, last week passing a new law banning its sale and production — and renewing worldwide debate on the controversial duck and goose liver.

While Britain, Germany, Italy and Argentina have banned the production of the French delicacy, city officials in Sao Paulo have gone a step further, forbidding its sale and, effectively, its consumption.

And in keeping with history, the move is being declared both a victory for animal-rights activists, and a violation of democratic rights by chefs.

Renowned Sao Paulo chef Alex Atala of D.O.M. was outspoken about the initiative, calling the move absurd.

Alex Atala

“How can a city regulate what a person eats? Where will it all end?” he said in an interview with news site UOL. “Gastronomy is good for tourism and instead of restricting it, they should promote it.”

It’s a similar sentiment echoed when California lawmakers implemented a statewide ban on the delicacy in 2012, only to see it overturned earlier this year.

When the law came into force, high-profile chefs like Thomas Keller, Tyler Florence and Ludo Lefebvre decried the move as misguided and pointed that a ban would create an illegal black market for the delicacy.

Instead they proposed enforcing new legislation for the humane treatment of foie gras production. The law was overturned earlier in January.

Foie gras is produced by force-feeding duck and geese to fatten up their livers. Restaurants have 45 days to take the luxury item off their menus.

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Foie gras sales on the rise in France and abroad

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Health and animal welfare concerns notwithstanding, the French are still crazy about foie gras, and they aren’t the only ones.

France exported close to 2,500 tons of foie gras in 2014, according to the latest report from the French trade organization focusing on the product, Cifog (Comité interprofessionnel des palmipèdes à foie gras).


French consumers still have a healthy appetite for the ingredient, which saw a 3% increase in sales in French supermarkets over 2014.

Out of all French households, 45.5% percent purchased foie gras last year, compared to 44.4% in 2013.

Not just for the French


Foreign foodies have experienced the delicate taste and melt-in-the-mouth texture of foie gras and are eager for more.

In 2014, the Cifog observed a record trade surplus of €57.3 million ($60.8 million), up 10% from the previous year. Foie gras exports rose by €2.8 million ($3.0 million) over the period.

This rise in demand was driven in large part by Asian markets, where consumers are rapidly developing a taste for the French delicacy.

Foie gras exports to Vietnam surged 268% in 2014, while those to South Korea jumped 139%. Sales to Hong Kong rose 28%, while demand in Thailand edged up 5%.

While Asian foodies may be driving the rise in global demand, Europeans are still the leading foie gras consumers by far.

The top export market for French foie gras in 2014 was Spain, which spent €24 million on the product (+3%). In second place was Belgium, where the market for French foie gras rose 20% to €19 million.

In 2015, regulation changes are expected to further bolster global demand. In Taiwan, where only canned foie gras was legal for import until December 2014, the product can now be imported and sold as raw lobes.

In January, a federal judge struck down California’s foie gras ban, giving restaurateurs the greenlight to put it back on their menus.

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Foie gras back on menu in California

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Californians will be able to legally eat foie gras again after a judge Wednesday overturned a ban on sales of the delicacy, outlawed in the US state for the past 18 months.

One restaurateur who has fought the ban said he would begin serving foie gras again immediately.

“It will be back on the menu tomorrow,” said Sean Chaney, chef-owner of Hot’s Kitchen in Hermosa Beach, adding: “It’s awesome… what a way to start the new year.”

Opponents of foie gras, produced by force-feeding geese or ducks, slammed the ruling by a federal court.

“Foie gras is French for fat liver. And fathead is the American word for the shameless chefs” who serve the gourmet food, said animal rights protection group PETA.

“A line will be drawn in the sand outside any restaurant that goes back to serving this torture in a tin,” it added in a statement.

California lawmakers agreed the ban in 2004, but gave the western US state’s foie gras producers seven-and-a-half-years to comply before it came into effect on July 1, 2012.

Restaurants serving the dish can be fined up to $1,000.

The ban has for the last 18 months outlawed force-feeding ducks or geese to make foie gras within California and bars sales of foie gras produced elsewhere if made by force-feeding a bird to enlarge its liver beyond normal size.

In his ruling Wednesday, US District Judge Stephen Wilson wrote that the law was unconstitutional because it interferes with an existing federal law regulating poultry products.

The foie gras ban was “a topic impacting gourmands’ stomachs and animal activists’ hearts,” the judge wrote.

The ruling came after an association of producers who supply Canada’s foie gras imports to the United States and Hudson Valley Foie Gras, the largest US producer, sued in Los Angeles to overturn the law.

Lawyer Michael Tenenbaum, who filed the civil suit against the state of California, said his clients alone are losing at least $15,000 per day as a result of the law.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris’s office said it was reviewing the ruling, but had no immediate comment.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund and the Humane Society vowed to appeal the ruling.

“The state clearly has the right to ban the sale of the products of animal cruelty… We are asking the California Attorney General to file an immediate appeal,” they said in a joint statement.

In the run-up to the 2012 ban, some of the Golden State’s top chefs, calling themselves the Coalition for Humane and Ethical Farming Standards (CHEFS), redoubled efforts to persuade lawmakers to overturn the ban.

They staged a series of foie gras-rich evenings to raise money for the cause. But John Burton, the former lawmaker who drafted the legislation, likened foie gras production to outlawed practices such as waterboarding or female genital mutilation.

“I’d like to sit all 100 of them 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.

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Israel on its way to banning foie gras

foie gras and figs

The war on foie gras continues, as Israel is poised to become the latest jurisdiction to ban the import and sale of the French delicacy.

In an early show of overwhelming support, 59 members of the Knesset threw their backing behind the bill this week in a preliminary reading, versus 10 opposition votes, reports the Jerusalem Post.

The production of foie gras was banned in Israel about a decade after being deemed abusive.

Should the bill pass first, second and third readings, Israel will become the next jurisdiction to ban the trade of foie gras after the state of California, which became goose-liver free last year —  a controversial move that continues to divide animal rights activists, chefs and gourmands.

The California ban spurred foie gras benders before the law was enforced last summer and has also created a black market for the delicacy.

The proposal in Israel was made in collaboration with animal rights groups, Anonymous for Animal Rights,  who charge that the geese are cruelly force-fed in order to fatten their livers.

“I believe that this law will not only contribute to animals but also to Israel’s image in the world,” said bill author MK Dov Lipman. “It’s time to eliminate this soul corrupting food from Israel.”

Animal rights groups have scored other victories against foie gras. Last year, the House of Lords in the UK banned foie gras from its in-house restaurant The Barry Room, while Harvey Nichols also took it off its menu after succumbing to mounting pressure from animal rights groups in 2010.


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California ban on foie gras begins July 1

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In the countdown to what’s being called foie-mageddon in California, restaurants and consumers alike are gorging on their last foie gras-laced supper before a state-wide ban kicks in July 1.

Despite high profile campaigns mounted by some of the country’s best known chefs to repeal the ban, all indications are that California residents will no longer be able to tuck into the fattened duck liver in less than two weeks’ time.
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Foie Gras Rossini Burger

Foie gras burger in Japan

Foie Gras Rossini Burger

US fast-food chain Wendy’s, known for its square beef patties and baked potatoes, on Tuesday unveiled a foie gras burger as it sprang back into life in Japan.

Two years after shutting up shop because of falling profits, Wendy’s is hoping its exotic new menu will tickle the sophisticated Japanese palate.

The regular buns are still there but are joined by the foie gras burgers, which cost 1,280 yen ($16), and avocado and wasabi burgers (820 yen) as well as grilled chicken served with truffle and porcini mushroom sauce (920 yen).
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Ice Cream Gallery

Lobster and foie gras ice cream from ice cream gallery

Ice Cream Gallery

A gourmet ice cream boutique in Hong Kong drew curious crowds with adventurous palates at a food expo last week for its lobster and foie gras flavored desserts.

Arron Liu’s Ice Cream Gallery was a crowd favorite at this year’s edition of the Hong Kong Food Expo for audacious ice cream flavors that aim to elevate “fine ice cream” to fine dining.

Since 1994, Liu has developed more than 600 ice cream flavors, some of which are inspired by French haute cuisine — like the foie gras and salmon varieties.
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Ian Purkayastha

At 18, he’s the US teen truffle tycoon

Ian Purkayastha

Ian Purkayastha’s teenage revolution didn’t involve rock groups, rebelling against his parents or embarrassing fashion experiments.

For him it was: “black truffle ravioli with foie gras sauce”.

And three years later, aged 18, Purkayastha not only remembers the “amazing” taste of that dish, but he’s turned himself into one of America’s leading truffle tycoons.
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China goes gourmet with foie gras

China’s ever-growing taste for luxury goods is extending into the culinary world — and that’s good news for Jean-Marie Vallier, who runs a duck farm and foie gras factory outside Beijing.

Two years ago, French group Euralis — the world leader in foie gras production — invested 2.7 million dollars in the facilities, aimed at producing the delicacy for high-end restaurants under the Rougie brand.

As the tastes and budgets of China’s growing middle class expand, so does the demand for upmarket Western fare served in chic venues, and Vallier is well-placed to profit from the fledgling gourmet revolution.
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There is caviar-flavored ice cream!

Upscale French artisan ice-cream maker Philippe Faur has taken out the ice cream of the universe of the desserts and he indefatigably works In his workshop to create new flavours always more surprising.

After such original products as the Truffle Ice-Cream, the Roquefort ice-cream or the Foie Gras de Canard sorbet developed with Rougié (Prix International de l’Innovation 2007), he has recently made his idea of creating a caviar sorbet come true thanks to a collaboration with Alverta Royal Petrossian.

This ice-cream which contains 60% caviar, from a white sturgeon, took both specialists 6 months to develop and it is is recommended to accompany smoked salmon, scallops or simply a baked potato…

Though, it is reported to possess all the organoleptic qualities of caviar, including in the way it evolves in the mouth It is reported to be a world premiere and unsurprisingly has now become the most expensive ice cream in the world!

Unfortunately, although international customers might be numerous, the ice-creams so far are only shipped within France in a special packaging that prevents them from melting for 72 hours.

A 100 ml tub is priced at 118 €. A 15 ml sample size is also available for 18 €.

The most expensive burger in New York

Its creators admit it is the ultimate in decadence: a $175 hamburger.

The Wall Street Burger Shoppe just raised its price from $150 to assure its designation as the costliest burger in the city as determined by Pocket Change, an online newsletter about the most expensive things in New York.

“Wall Street has good days and bad days. We wanted to have the everyday burger (for $4) … and then something special if you really have a good day on Wall Street,” said co-owner Heather Tierney.

The burger, created by chef and co-owner Kevin O’Connell, seeks to justify its price with a Kobe beef patty, lots of black truffles, seared foie gras, aged Gruyere cheese, wild mushrooms and flecks of gold leaf on a brioche bun.

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A $1,000 Sushi Roll

Sushi Roll Caviar

The High Roller sushi roll that sells for $1000 will be served at Koi restaurant in New York : It starts with marinated and poached fois gras that is covered with succulent Langoustine (lobster).

Then the roll is brushed with saffron/vanilla bean butter and encrusted with caviar.

Finally, when the roll is served the Chef comes tableside to shave white Alba truffles and drizzle them with 100 year balsamic.