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Israel risks French ire with ban on foie gras

Sophie Inge · 2 Aug 2013, 17:47

Published: 02 Aug 2013 17:47 GMT+02:00

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Foie gras, a traditional type of French delicacy made from the livers of force-fed ducks or geese is not such a delicacy in Israel, it would seem.

The Knesset, the legislative branch of the Israeli government has now adopted a law “banning the importation and the selling of the livers of animals which have been tortured”.

In other words, according to France's Le point news site, it means a ban on bringing foie gras into the country with the aim of selling it.

It appears to be the final nail in the coffin for the controversial pâté in Israel.

Already in 2003, the Israeli High Court declared that the practice of force-feeding – or “gavage” as it is known in France – was contrary to animal protection laws, leading to a ban of the production of foie gras on Israeli soil.

Up until then, Israel was the fourth producer of foie gras in the world, reports Le Point, worth a total of $16.5 million and 500 jobs.

“I’m very proud of being in the Knesset which chose to place values before interests and futile pleasures,” said Dov Lipman, a deputy for the Yesh Atid centrist party.

“I believe that this law will benefit, not only animals, but also the image of Israel. The time has come to ban Israel from this food that corrupts minds.”

For Israelis who really can’t do without the food, there’s no need to panic, however. The ban does not cover personal consumption. So as long as you buy the foie gras abroad you are free to bring it back in small amounts to consume as and when you please.

Last July, the State of California officially banned the production, selling and consumption of foie gras, much to the wrath of French producers.

Story continues below…

The ban had been written into state law seven years ago but local producers had been allowed a “period of grace” before the ban was made official.

The production of foie gras is already banned in several countries including the UK and Turkey.

In October 2012 a group of European MPs also riled France when they called for an EU-wide ban on the production and sale of foie gras.

Sophie Inge (sophie.inge@thelocal.com)

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