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France: Foie gras sold at super-low prices in legal loophole

The exception to the usual law can be obtained by direct request, allowing producers to sell at super-low prices at this popular time of year.

Foie gras and duck magret are being sold at very low prices in major supermarkets in France this year, as producers make use of a sales law loophole.

This time of year to Christmas represents 70% of sales for the sector, with foie gras and duck often favoured over the holiday period. As a result, the industry is working to improve sales now, especially in light of the economic crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The sector had also previously suffered due to two consecutive bouts of avian flu.

As a result, foie gras and duck magret producers in France have now managed to obtain a waiver that is enabling them to sell at much lower prices than the law would otherwise allow.

French law - specifically the law known as the “loi Egalim” - limits sales and promotions to 34% by value, and 25% by volume, to avoid supermarkets from being able to cut prices so low that producers risk receiving almost nothing for their goods.

However a loophole to this law exists for those who request an exception directly from consumer watchdog the DGCCRF (Direction générale de la concurrence, de la consommation et de la répression des fraudes). This is because the DGCCRF has recognised that in some cases, the law may be too severe.

Michel Fruchet, president of industry body CIFOG, has said that everyone who requested an exception this year has been able to obtain one.

Supermarket brands including Leclerc, Intermarché and Carrefour have already been holding “Le Comptoir de Canard (Duck Counter)” events - which are set to run until November 16 - selling duck products at very low prices.

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