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Home / federal statute

Pasadena court upholds ban on foie gras made from livers of force-fed fowl

The state’s ban on sales of foie gras survived another challenge Friday when a divided Pasadena federal appeals panel held that the prohibition is constitutionally sound.

The California law that went into effect in 2012 banning the in-state sale of the delicacy made from the fattened livers of force-fed ducks and geese has been challenged in the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals three times over the years by various foie gras sellers.

Two years ago, a Los Angeles federal judge approved imports of foie gras from outside the state. The latest challenge focused on the extent to which California law banned the sale of products made from the force feeding of birds and whether the state law was preempted by a federal statute.

The panel held that the sales ban was neither preempted nor unconstitutional and that sales from out-of-state vendors was permitted under California law.

Animal lovers throughout the state have crusaded against the gourmet pate, which is usually produced through a process in which ducks or geese are force-fed corn through tubes inserted in their throats, a practice seen as inhumane.

Under the law, a restaurant caught serving the gourmet item in California could be fined up to $1,000.

In 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear arguments in the foie gras industry’s challenge to the ban.

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