Keep the Foie!

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Two weeks ago, Charles Communications Associates organized an event to raise awareness on the pending ban in California of foie gras. We worked alongside such top U.S. foie gras producers as Sonoma Foie Gras, Hudson Valley Foie Gras, Bella Gourmet and D’Artagnan, one of the world’s main suppliers of foie gras.

Foie Gras Popcorn
Foie Gras Popcorn

Foie Gras Popcorn by Chef Chris Cosentino

The San Francisco restaurant, Incanto, hosted the event, which also included noted Bay Area chefs and key food industry representatives. Chef Chris Cosentino put together various treats; a favorite was his  foie gras popcorn. Wine importer and distributor Martine Saunier, of Martine’s Wines, donated and poured exceptional wines.

The event was more of an informational meeting, garnering support against the ban from within the industry. D’Artagnan founder Ariane Daguin emceed the event and began the discussion by explaining how foie gras is made. Mark Pastore, owner of Incanto, spoke next on the topic of freedom of choice, a crucial issue this ban brings up.  Foie Gras has been targeted, and sadly since it has so few small producers vs. larger concerns such as poultry and beef with big lobbies and big budgets, it can’t really easily defend the producers. We feel it’s been unfairly singled out.

Ariane Daguin
Ariane Daguin

Ariane Daguin of D'Artagnan speaking

Some of the key facts that were presented during the discussions were:

- Ducks and geese do not have a gag reflex

- Ducks and geese are defenseless birds of prey that have to quickly capture their food and eat it elsewhere, in shelter. So nature provided them with an insensitive esophagus and no gag reflex, so they are able to store copious amounts of food before actually digesting it

- The job of boutique foie gras producers is to get wholesome food from their ducks and geese and provide top quality foie gras. In order to do so, they must treat the animals humanely. Stressed out animals don’t produce top quality products. The key is not to stress the ducks and geese. They are kept in the most stress-free environment possible.

- After 9 weeks of roaming, ducks and geese are fed 3 times a day for 5 seconds. The first day of force feeding is stressful for the ducks and geese because they are not used to man. However, from day two onward, they are perfectly content being in close proximity to man because they are feeding them.

- The ban on foie gras was voted on 7 years ago.

- It is still possible to modify or repeal the law: no state can forbid a perfectly legal good from other states.

- Twitter is a powerful tool to recruit supporters.

To learn more about the ban or to sign the petition against it, please go to: http://artisanfarmers.org/.