A Letter to Chefs from Ariane Daguin: CA Law Banning Foie Gras “A Vague Mess”

Dear Chefs – The practical impact of the Supreme Court’s decision yesterday not to hear the foie gras producers’ appeal is that the case will return to the federal district court, where it will move forward. California will now be able to enforce its attempt to ban foie gras.

While the law itself is a vague mess (and was already once found to be unconstitutional), we believe that the safest policy for the time being is to not sell any foie gras products in California.

To avoid even the threat of litigation, we here at D’Artagnan will also not be supplying foie gras to customers in California until further notice.  No one wants to have to incur the distraction and significant expense of even a nuisance lawsuit from publicity-seeking animal rights extremists.

Below is the actual first paragraph of the ban, California Health and Safety Code, Sections 25980-25981:

25980.  For purposes of this section, the following terms have the following meanings:

(a) A bird includes, but is not limited to, a duck or goose.

(b) Force feeding a bird means a process that causes the bird to consume more food than a typical bird of the same species would consume voluntarily. Force feeding methods include, but are not limited to, delivering feed through a tube or other device inserted into the bird’s esophagus.

25981.  A person may not force feed a bird for the purpose of enlarging the bird’s liver beyond normal size, or hire another person to do so.

As we understand it, a Mommy bird cannot feed her baby birds anymore. (Seen here, a Mommy bird feeding her babies by inserting her beak into her babies’ esophagus: https://youtu.be/PeS1vnG-vuc)

The producers of foie gras are already preparing new court filings to obtain another injunction, and we will certainly keep you updated on those developments in the coming months.

Ariane Daguin is the founder, owner and CEO of D’Artagnan, the renowned gourmet food purveyor famous for providing humanely-raised meats, from game and foie gras to organic chicken and prepared charcuterie.


This law is very silly in my opinion. I will keep watching and hope it changes for the people of California. Thanks for the letter Ariane.

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