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California's ban on foie gras can remain in effect, judge says

September 20, 2012|Bloomberg News

California's ban on the sale of foie gras can remain in effect while producers of the delicacy made from the livers of force-fed ducks challenge the constitutionality of the law, a federal judge said.

U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson at a hearing in Los Angeles denied the request by Canadian and American foie gras producers for an order to halt enforcement of the law that went into effect July 1.

Wilson said Wednesday he would explain his reasons in a written ruling later.

The ban on foie gras, French for "fat liver," was signed into law in 2004 by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Enforcement was postponed for almost eight years to let producers find an alternative to force-feeding. No substitute method has come to light.

The law bans force-feeding ducks or geese to make foie gras and forbids selling foie gras produced that way. Violators can be fined as much as $1,000 a day.

The plaintiffs include a Canadian association of producers who supply 100% of Canada's imports of foie gras to the U.S., and Hudson Valley, the largest U.S. producer of foie gras.

Michael Tenenbaum, a lawyer for the foie gras producers, declined to immediately comment on the ruling.

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