Brazilian city outlaws foie gras — and renews debate

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015. Filed under: Destinations Food & Dining Health & Fitness
Foie gras © WM_idea /

Foie gras
© WM_idea /

(Relaxnews) – Brazil’s most populous city Sao Paulo has become the latest destination to deem foie gras unethical, last week passing a new law banning its sale and production — and renewing worldwide debate on the controversial duck and goose liver.

While Britain, Germany, Italy and Argentina have banned the production of the French delicacy, city officials in Sao Paulo have gone a step further, forbidding its sale and, effectively, its consumption.

And in keeping with history, the move is being declared both a victory for animal-rights activists, and a violation of democratic rights by chefs.

Renowned Sao Paulo chef Alex Atala of D.O.M. was outspoken about the initiative, calling the move absurd.

“How can a city regulate what a person eats? Where will it all end?” he said in an interview with news site UOL.

“Gastronomy is good for tourism and instead of restricting it, they should promote it.”

It’s a similar sentiment echoed when California lawmakers implemented a statewide ban on the delicacy in 2012, only to see it overturned earlier this year.

When the law came into force, high-profile chefs like Thomas Keller, Tyler Florence and Ludo Lefebvre decried the move as misguided and pointed that a ban would create an illegal black market for the delicacy.

Instead they proposed enforcing new legislation for the humane treatment of foie gras production.

The law was overturned earlier in January.

Foie gras is produced by force-feeding duck and geese to fatten up their livers.

Restaurants in Sao Paulo have 45 days to take the luxury item — described as an appetizer for the wealthy by the Brazilian city councillor who put forth the proposal — off their menus.


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