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Foie gras: French fraud report finds major issues

Blocks of foie gras - a popular food over the holiday season in France - have been found to not comply with laws on composition and labelling, a new fraud report has found.

In a study of 21 blocks of foie gras, nine contained more water than the 10% allowed. This water had either been added directly, or indirectly (such as through seasoning), according to the new report from consumer and fraud watchdog la Direction Générale de la Concurrence, de la Consommation et de la Répression des Fraudes (DGCCRF).

The study also found anomalies in pre-prepared food products containing foie gras, with the percentages found to not comply with the requirements of farm  product insitute le Centre Technique des Conserves et des Produits Agricoles.

Even geographic reputation did not ensure quality. Five in six products with the “indication géographique protégée (IGP)” label had problems, such as not enough mass. In total, of the 35 samples that were analysed, 54% were found not to confirm to regulation.

There were also labelling problems. Several products were labelled with names such as “pâté au foie gras”, “mousse au foie gras” or ”foie gras de canard entier mi-cuit à la figue (whole, half-cooked duck foie gras with figs)”.

Yet, these names were actually not legal for the products concerned, as the term “foie gras” is only allowed to be used for products in which foie gras is the primary ingredient. Products that contain less than 50% foie gras should normally be labelled with phrases such as “médaillons de foie” or “parfaits de foie”. Those with less than 20% foie gras must be labelled as “au foie”.

Some products’ labels also suggested that they contained a significant quantity of goose - as goose is often perceived as being the tastier bird - but some were found to contain less than 1% goose.

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