Fight for foie gras far from finished


At midnight on Sunday, California’s foie gras ban came into effect. And even though we’ve had nearly eight years to warm up to the idea, lovers of the fine French delicacy are still crying foul.

Opponents of the ban are now looking for ways to give a big, fatty and delicious “duck you!” to the legislation by working its loopholes.

Beginning today, the making and selling of foie gras — which is controversially produced by force-feeding ducks or geese — is prohibited statewide. Lawbreakers will pay up to $1,000 for each violation, and up to $1,000 for each day the violation continues.

But what’s unclear is if restaurants are allowed to prepare and serve it gratis, or if out-of-state purveyors can ship it into our foie-free borders.

Rebecca Katz, the director of San Francisco’s Animal Care and Control, is in charge of enforcing the ban in The City, and acknowledged to SFGate that loopholes do exist:

“The letter of the law doesn’t always match the spirit of the law. Here the spirit is to address animal cruelty. Unfortunately, the letter allows loopholes.”

For example, her agency can’t cite restaurants for giving away foie gras or for preparing it for diners who bring it in themselves. According to the law, Katz said, a sale must be made.

If diners choose to BYOF (Bring Your Own Foie), restaurants can cook it for free and charge you 20 bucks for the toast it’s served on.

Dan Scherotter, chef at San Francisco’s Palio d’Asti, told ABC News that people are calling it a “foikage” fee:

“So instead of corkage, we’d charge ‘foikage’ to cook your foie gras for you.”

State Sen. Lois Wolk told SFGate that she is willing to rework the law, but a repeal is out of the question:

“I have told the chefs and producers of foie gras that if a proposal came forward to amend the California law, not repeal it, but amend it to create an acceptable humane standard for the production of this agricultural product, I would consider carrying the legislation next year.”

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