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Paul Zimmerman

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The Continued War on Foie Gras

The war on foie gras continues in California. On March 5, 2015, the California Court of Appeal held that an animal-rights group could sue a restaurant for its alleged violation of the state’s pending ban on the sale of foie gras.

Claiming that it was not a sale, and analogizing it was their way of “dumping tea in the harbor,” La Toque restaurant in Napa had given away the delicacy as gifts in protest of the pending ban. The Court of Appeal disagreed, finding that the “gift” was actually a sale since the only way diners could receive the foie gras was to order the expensive tasting menu.

All is not lost for foie gras lovers, though. As foodies are likely aware, on January 7, 2015, a California district court invalidated California’s ban on the sale of foie gras. While that decision is now on appeal, it is currently legal for California restaurants to sell foie gras (it is, however, still illegal to produce foie gras in California). Also, the plaintiffs who filed suit against La Toque now face an uphill battle as their action will likely not proceed any further unless the district court’s decision is overruled.

Regardless of how the suit against La Toque ultimately turns out, the war on foie gras is sure to garner headlines for the foreseeable future.

To read more about the district court's decision to lift the ban, click here 

This article is not offered as, and should not be relied on as, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice in specific situations.