"Menus across the Bay Area were being hastily rewritten Wednesday after a federal judge struck down California’s ban on foie gras, allowing restaurants to serve up the delicacy for the first time in two years.
"U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson in Los Angeles ruled that the state prohibition on the sale of foie gras, a fatty liver dish made from force-fed ducks and geese, illegally encroached upon the regulatory domain of the federal government.
"California lawmakers passed the groundbreaking ban in 2004 amid concern that force-feeding poultry is inhumane. The law took effect eight years later, immediately putting a crimp in California’s dining scene, where the French-inspired fare is celebrated at many high-end restaurants for its rich, creamy flavor.
"Wednesday’s decision was based on the federal Poultry Products Inspections Act, which regulates the sale and distribution of birds and expressly prohibits states from imposing certain conditions on food. Wilson said California’s foie gras ban had done just that.
"The ban, which specifically outlawed force-feeding birds for the purpose of enlarging their livers and selling them, was challenged by poultry producer Hudson Valley Foie Gras of New York, Hot’s Restaurant Group in Southern California and the Canadian trade organization Association des Eleveurs de Canards et d’Oies du Quebec. The state attorney general’s office defended the prohibition.
"In Wednesday’s ruling, Wilson acknowledged that emotions ran high over the matter, writing that his 15-page opinion “touches upon a topic impacting gourmands’ stomachs and animal-rights activists’ hearts.”
"Strugar noted that, under Wednesday’s ruling, production of foie gras remains illegal in California"
HT: Kim Krawiec