French schools ban foie gras Christmas lunches

Local authorities in several areas of France have banned the traditional serving of foie gras in school canteens over Christmas.

Foie gras - fattened duck liver - will not be served in some school cantines in France over Christmas.
Foie gras - fattened duck liver - will not be served in some school cantines in France over Christmas. (Photo by GEORGES GOBET / AFP)

Many French schools have foie gras on the Christmas lunch menu. It is dished up in a variety of ways – either as a stuffing or as a spread. 

But three towns (Grenoble, Strasbourg and Villeurbanne) governed by the Green party have banned the product in school canteens and for official town-hall functions. The move comes after years of pressure from the animal rights group, PETA.

READ ALSO Do French kids get the best school lunches in the world?

Sandra Krief, a city councillor in Grenoble for the Parti Animaliste who also campaigned for the ban, tweeted that the production of foie gras was “one of the worst practices or ‘traditions’ as far as animal cruelty is concerned.”

“Foie gras is a shameful French tradition that should be abolished like bullfighting,” she continued. 

READ ALSO Meet the French Animal Party candidate running for president

France makes about two thirds of the world’s foie gras, produced by force-feeding ducks or geese until the develop the distinct ‘fatty liver’.

In an interview on Sud Radio, Marie-Pierre Pé, director of France’s Inter-professional Committee of Foie Gras makers hit back, saying the ban was “scandalous”. 

“Anyone who goes to meet producers understands that the fattening comes towards the end of the animal’s life. It totally respects the life of birds, which are there to produce this famous foie gras that the whole world is jealous of,” she said. 

“There is more and more attention being paid towards the wellbeing of the animals.” 

READ MORE French mayor’s foie gras ban prompts fury from farmers

PETA is now campaigning to have foie gras scrapped from menu at official town hall functions in other cities, including Bordeaux, Lyon, Marseille and Montpellier. 

The French delicacy has been under attack around the world for years.  The EU parliament called on member states to ban the practice of force feeding this summer – and has banned the product from official events in the Strasbourg parliament building. In the United States, California has banned the sale of foie gras produced with force feeding. The British government plans to do the same. 

Michelin-starred chef, Alexis Gauthier, has a potential solution that could reconcile animal rights activists and foie gras lovers: Faux gras – a plant based alternative. You can read the recipe HERE or watch the tutorial

READ MORE Lab-grown ‘foie gras’ cannot use product name, says French food producers group

Member comments

  1. Ms Pe says ‘the whole world is jealous of foie gras’. Not quite true since India, Australia, Israel, UK , Argentina, and Brazil have all banned its importation and many others its production. Animal cruelty is nothing to shout about.

    1. Another British tourist sticking his nose into our way of life. If you don’t want to eat it, that’s your choice but don’t tell other people, that enjoy eating it, not to.👿

        1. Who is talking about being libertarian. I’m saying keep your nose out of my countries affairs. My friends and I will keep eating foie gras for as long as we want. It’s a great shame your little island banned hunting with dogs. What’s it going for next. fly-fishing.😮

          1. Considering the best is produced on small farms, I very much doubt a blanket EU ban is going to have much of an effect.

      1. Boggy, stop taking CAP subsidies and you can have all the free choice you want. But as long as I am paying taxes to keep this ugly practice going then I get a say. In any case, if you read the article you’d know it is other French who are opposing this and other French who are saying that these (French people) have no right to do so. Marie-Pierre Pé said it clearly: she thinks it is scandalous that others get to have a choice in any decision to buy damaged duck liver. In essence she wants to force feed it down students throats. The irony of that no doubt escapes her.

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What changes in France in July 2022

Summer's here and the time is right for national celebrations, traffic jams, strikes, Paris beaches, and ... changing the rules for new boilers.

What changes in France in July 2022

Summer holidays

The holiday season in France officially begins on Thursday, July 7th, as this is the date when school’s out for the summer. The weekend immediately after the end of the school year is expected to be a busy one on the roads and the railways as families start heading off on vacation.

READ ALSO 8 things to know about driving in France this summer


But it wouldn’t really be summer in France without a few strikes – airport employees at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports will walk out on July 1st, while SNCF rail staff will strike on July 6th. Meanwhile Ryanair employees at Paris, Marseille and Toulouse airports will strike on yet-to-be-confirmed dates in July.

READ ALSO How strikes and staff shortages will affect summer in France

Parliamentary fireworks?

Prime minister Elisabeth Borne will present the government’s new programme in parliament on July 5th – this is expected to be a tricky day for the Macron government, not only does it not have the parliamentary majority that it needs to pass legislation like the new package of financial aid to help householders deal with the cost-of-living crisis, but opposition parties have indicated that they will table a motion of no confidence against Borne.

Parliament usually breaks for the summer at the end of July, but a special extended session to allow legislation to be passed means that MPs won’t get to go on holiday until at least August 9th. 

Fête nationale

July 14th is a public holiday in France, commemorating the storming of the Bastille which was the symbolic start of the French Revolution. As usual, towns and cities will host parades and fireworks – with the biggest military parade taking place on the Champs-Elysées in Paris – and many stores will remain closed.

As the national holiday falls on a Thursday this year, many French workers will take the opportunity to faire le pont.

Festival season really kicks in

You know summer’s here when France gets festival fever, with events in towns and cities across the country. You can find our pick of the summer celebrations here.

Paris Plages

The capital’s popular urban beaches return on July 9th on the banks of the Seine and beside the Bassin de la Villette in northern Paris, bringing taste of the seaside to the capital with swimming spots, desk chairs, beach games and entertainment.  

Summer sales end 

Summer sales across most of the country end on July 19th – unless you live in Alpes-Maritimes, when they run from July 6th to August 2nd, or the island of Corsica (July 13th to August 9th).

Tour de France

The Tour de France cycle race sets off on July 1st from Copenhagen and finishes up on the Champs-Elysée in Paris on July 24th.

New boilers

From July 1st, 2022, new equipment installed for heating or hot water in residential or professional buildings, must comply with a greenhouse gas emissions ceiling of 300 gCO2eq/KWh PCI. 

That’s a technical way of saying oil or coal-fired boilers can no longer be installed. Nor can any other type of boiler that exceeds the ceiling.

As per a decree published in the Journal Officiel in January, existing appliances can continue to be used, maintained and repaired, but financial aid of up to €11,000 is planned to encourage their replacement. 

Bike helmets

New standards for motorbike helmets come into effect from July 1st. Riders do not need to change their current helmets, but the “ECE 22.05” standard can no longer be issued – and all helmets sold must adhere to a new, more stringent “ECE 22.06” standards from July 2024

New cars

From July 6th new car models must be equipped with a black box that record driving parameters such as speed, acceleration or braking phases, wearing (or not) of a seat belt, indicator use, the force of the collision or engine speed, in case of accidents.

New cars II

From July 1st, the ecological bonus for anyone who buys an electric vehicle drops by €1,000, while rechargeable hybrids will be excluded from the aid system, “which will be reserved for electric vehicles whose CO2 emission rate is less than or equal to 20g/km”.

What’s in a name?

Historically, the French have been quite restrictive on the use of family names – remember the concern over the use of birth names on Covid vaccine documents? – but it becomes easier for an adult to choose to bear the name of his mother, his father, or both by a simple declaration to the civil status. All you have to do is declare your choice by form at the town hall of your home or place of birth.

Eco loans

In concert with the new boiler rules, a zero-interest loan of up to €30,000 to finance energy-saving renovations can be combined with MaPrimeRénov’, a subsidy for financing the same work, under certain conditions, from July 1st.

Rent rules

Non-professional private landlords advertising properties for rent must, from July 1st, include specific information about the property on the ad, including the size of the property in square metres, the area of town in which the property is in, the monthly rent and any supplements, whether the property is in a rent-control area, and the security deposit required. Further information, including the full list of requirements for any ad, is available here.

Perfume ban

More perfumes are to be added to a banned list for products used by children, such as soap-making kits, cosmetic sets, shampoos, or sweet-making games, or toys that have an aroma.

Atranol, chloroatranol (extracts of oak moss containing tannins), and methyl carbonate heptin, which smells like violets, will be banned from July 5th, because of their possible allergenic effects.

Furthermore, 71 new allergenic fragrances – including camphor, menthol, vanilin, eucalyptus spp. leaf oil, rose flower oil, lavendula officinalis, turpentine – will be added to the list of ingredients that must be clearly indicated on a toy or on an attached label.

Ticket resto limits

The increased ticket resto limit ended on June 30th, so from July 1st employees who receive the restaurant vouchers will once again be limited to spending €19 per day in restaurants, cafés and bars. The limit was increased to €38 during the pandemic, when workers were working from home.