California bans foie gras - again

foie gras served as a tartine

But case could find its way to the Supreme Court

A ban on the sale of controversial French delicacy foie gras in California has been reinstated by a federal court of appeal.

The three-judge panel at the court in Pasadena ruled unanimously that the 2012 ban, which had been put on hold following the legal challenge in 2015, did not contravene federal law.

An association of French-style foie gras producers in Canada and New York, as well as a restaurant in Los Angeles, had challenged the California ban in the courts, describing it as too vague and interfering with domestic trade laws.

Any restaurants that serve foie gras could be fined $1,000 (€840).

The complainants who brought the defeated challenge now have 14 days to petition all federal judges at the Pasadena court re-examine the case. If the petition is approved, the case will move on to the Supreme Court. If that happens, the sale of foie gras would remain legal until the Supreme Court ruling.

California's original foie gras ban was passed in 2004, but there was a seven-and-a-half year delay, meant to allow producers to find alternative ways to make foie gras. It came into force in June 2012.

Italy, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, India, Luxembourg, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Poland, Israel, Sweden, Switzerland, Germany and the United Kingdom have some form of a ban on forced feeding or foie gras products.

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