SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Californians can buy foie gras made outside the state despite California’s ban on the delicacy, a federal court of appeals ruled on Friday.
The Ninth U.S. District Court of Appeals upheld a 2020 lower court ruling that allowed California residents to order foie gras from manufacturers outside the state and ship it to a third-party shipping service.
The ruling applies only to people who buy foie gras for individual consumption. A 2012 state law still prohibits the production of foie gras in California, while restaurants and retailers are prohibited from selling or distributing it.
Foie gras is produced from an enlarged liver forcibly fed to ducks and geese. The Humane Society and other groups have supported California law, arguing that the process is animal cruelty.
The producers claimed that the process of force-feeding mimics what happens in the wild when ducks and geese overeat to accumulate extra food for their long annual migration.
The law has been challenged by producers, including New York foie gras from the Hudson Valley, who said they lost nearly one-third of their total sales when the ban took effect.
They argued that state law contradicts interstate trade and federal food regulations that allow force-feeding for foie gras production.
By decision 3-0, the Board of Appeals upheld the previous ruling, but rejected attempts to repeal the entire law.
Ralph Henry, a lawyer for the Humane Society, told the San Francisco Chronicle that the ruling does not significantly weaken the law.
“Only a narrow form of the deal – selling by sellers outside the state, delivery to end consumers in the state – is still allowed,” he said in an email.
Lawyers for the manufacturers said they would ask the appellate court to hold a new hearing in the Grand Board.
Chef Sean Cheney told The Chronicle in a statement that while he considers the law unconstitutional, “I am also pleased that 40 million Californians can continue to enjoy the foie gras products they buy online, and I hope I can prepare it for them soon again ”.
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