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Foie Gras Process


Carolyn Tillie
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It's just so - messed up.  I keep trying to make excuses to people ...

The first thing that people on both sides of the Atlantic need to understand is that this is a game being played by both sides. It's not fair for the French not understand that the EU is playing the same game, just because their newspapers don't report that side of the story. If people who aren't aware of the whole story are allowed to force you to make excuses, you're going to be on the defensive forever.

I like the French, well at least as much as I like the Americans. My daughter is married to a Frenchman, well a Breton anyway. Let's face it however, the majority of the people on any side of a trade dispute won't fully understand what their government is doing or why. With that in mind, you have to understand that no matter where you are, the locals are going to feel adamantly wronged, especially when the local press is going to report the popular short version.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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And that's just another reason why we should all visit Canada and have a good , realatively inexpensive time instead of going overseas!

You should really make an effort to come to France if you want to experience French products. It's really a wonderful place. And not poisonous, or full of venomous people. Really. I promise.

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And that's just another reason why we should all visit Canada and have a good , realatively inexpensive time instead of going overseas!

Canada is on my list of must-visit places this year.

Absinthe is legal? Cool.

and we're very friendly too. :biggrin: We even have some decent restaurants. :smile:

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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If people who aren't aware of the whole story are allowed to force you to make excuses, you're going to be on the defensive forever.

Please don't get me wrong. I've never ever felt forced to make excuses. But in the process of living authentically, feeling good in my own skin, so to speak, in being able to accept the people that I have daily transactions with, in addition to my friends, my loved ones here, who are fed one line by their press, and my own take, which comes in another language and from another cultural standpoint, I have had to come to terms with differences. Sometimes that involves explaining, long discussions, and even justifications. I just try and negotiate my existence from day to day as an American in France, cultivate my friendships, which I value, and do my best to share the good qualities of my culture with the people who I care about, because being a friend, I care about what they think and the quality of what we share is proportionally affected by the effort both sides put in. Sometimes it's hard because many people do not have the linguistic or time capacity to complete full investigations. They soak in news items at the end of the day, or on the radio, like many of us do. I love my home country in addition to being deeply in love with this country and it's ways. The conflicts don't sit well with me, especially when it's clear they are created by purile pettiness motivated by political interests. Whew. It's time for dinner. Thanks for listening.

-Lucy

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You Americans are behind the times, this is old news in Canada. We've had a ban on fresh French beef and poultry, excepting pork and foie gras for a while now. Foie gras can only be imported by registered processors. And I do believe they actually have to process it, somehow. Maybe a restaurant would qualify but I don't know if a distributor would. I doubt it. Otherwise pretty much only if fully cooked and canned.

This is so old you'll have to get it from Google's cache:

http://www.google.ca/search?q=cache:wm82SW...&hl=en&ie=UTF-8

Also see the regulation:

http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/anima/...a/francee.shtml

At least we can still eat our dangerous cheese.

Also, in terms of exactly what the issue is, it says at the end of the article they won't confirm with HAACP. Requirement debatable, fine, but I think this has been an ongoing issue and is not just the fruits of one inspection. I don't know a lot about HAACP requirements but I think the smaller French producers are behind the times. The fact that Canada otherwise allows all sorts of imports (by individuals, even) of all sorts of things the US bans, from all sorts of countries: fruits and vegetables, fish products, cheeses, etc., makes me doubt that it could be completely disingenuous.

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It's comforting to know that this could possibly be a really huge coincedence as J. Whiting first mentioned, and as you point out with the detailing of similar restrictions having been placed in Canada in the past. Because my country would just look so stupid if it were not. There is not a whole lot of banter about it in the French press more than the reiteration time and time again that they simply do not agree with the findings. Maybe I jumped to conclusions, and I can rest easy, perhaps there is no agenda. I am not a politician. I am ok standing corrected.

:smile:

edited to add a smile.

Edited by bleudauvergne (log)
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dillybravo, thanks. I hadn't heard about this.*

Come to think of it, the foie I see around is all Canadian.

edit:

*Must have missed it what with the absinthe etc.

Edited by Jinmyo (log)

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Mostl of you must be really young. And big fans of Oliver Stone :smile: . I can remember similar bans of various French food products a domestic consumer or returning tourist might buy - both fresh and processed - going back over the course of the last 30 years. They were on and off - but mostly on. The last ban I specifically remember was the ban on fresh foie gras. That was the result of Newcastle's Disease - and it went on for decades. Diseases that might possibly affect birds are very scarey to domestic bird producers - no matter what country you're talking about.

If this were really a political vendetta - as opposed to a public health issue - why pick on foie gras? Why not pick on something important?

"French exports to the U.S. are mainly industrial products: capital goods (42%) - including aeronautics materials (25%), automotive parts (4%), and intermediary goods (23%). Consumer goods (17%) and food products (9%), traditionally associated with France, represent a far smaller proportion of French sales to the U.S."

Robyn

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"French exports to the U.S. are mainly industrial products: capital goods (42%) - including aeronautics materials (25%), automotive parts (4%), and intermediary goods (23%). Consumer goods (17%) and food products (9%), traditionally associated with France, represent a far smaller proportion of French sales to the U.S."

Robyn, where did you get that quote?

Also, do you know if wine exports are subsumed under "food products"?

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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"French exports to the U.S. are mainly industrial products: capital goods (42%) - including aeronautics materials (25%), automotive parts (4%), and intermediary goods (23%). Consumer goods (17%) and food products (9%), traditionally associated with France, represent a far smaller proportion of French sales to the U.S."

Robyn, where did you get that quote?

Also, do you know if wine exports are subsumed under "food products"?

Pan - I don't save all these web links (I'll try to be more careful in the future). This one was French - maybe the French department of commerce - something like that. I'd suspect that wine is either food or consumer products. It's definitely not aeronautics materials :smile: . France is one of the top 10 trading partners of the US - and I'm sure that the foodstuffs being discussed here are peanuts compared to the overall picture.

When you deal with relatively large countries - boutique stuff of the type that's being discussed here isn't a large part of their international trade. On the other hand - with smaller countries - e.g., Israel - which is the 3rd largest foie gras country in the world - it is a big deal. Which is why a lot is going on there in terms of foie gras (SC of Israel outlawed production based on animal cruelty - but delayed implementation of its ruling due to possible dire economic impact). Robyn

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"French exports to the U.S. are mainly industrial products: capital goods (42%) - including aeronautics materials (25%), automotive parts (4%), and intermediary goods (23%). Consumer goods (17%) and food products (9%), traditionally associated with France, represent a far smaller proportion of French sales to the U.S."

They forgot firearms of which i just took delivery of another French shotgun.

Whether politically motivated or a failure to conform to USDA requirements, the ban exisits.

My 'Jubugo' is now aging in Spain due to an entire processing facility being built to conform to USDA requirements because the Spanish want our $'s. Most of the time, it seems like the Franch could not care if they export to the US. The attitude has migrated to the Canadians who it seems allow all sorts of food imports but no handguns. Conan O'brien and the dog puppet had it right.

Right now i ain't going to Canada and France and not buying much in the way of French products. Of course the Euro helped a little.-Dick

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Such delicacies can sometimes harbor harmful bacteria and have occasionally been linked to outbreaks of listeria poisoning, which causes high fevers, severe headaches and nausea. It can be potentially fatal to people with weak immune systems.

Don't you love living in a society afraid to live... or possibly live... or potentially live... or occasoinaly live... or could have lived...

Cory Barrett

Pastry Chef

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Such delicacies can sometimes harbor harmful bacteria and have occasionally been linked to outbreaks of listeria poisoning, which causes high fevers, severe headaches and nausea. It can be potentially fatal to people with weak immune systems.

Don't you love living in a society afraid to live... or possibly live... or potentially live... or occasoinaly live... or could have lived...

Over the last 50 years our food preocessing has grown from a number of small regional facilites to giant, high speed facilities. With the increase in volume has come the potential for large amounts of food being distributed to large numbers of people with contamination. 50 years ago, an incident of this type would have only affected a small proportion of the population. That is the reason for what is percieved as an increase in the standards. I for one, appauld the increase and realization that our food system needs careful attention and inspection. -Dick

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I had a huge and detailed response to this that was destroyed by a slip of some alt-shift-space-arrow-or-whatnot combination. So here it is in brief:

1. Foodie hates HAACP. HAACP destroys traditional methods. Industrial food is a poor tasting and culturally-destructive practice that cannot (as stands) compete with our collective alimentary heritage. There is no room to be an artisan when you are monitoring 1000lb. of livermush for acidity and temperature.

2. Food safety is crucial (human disease control, livestock disease control, species migration, at least), but needs to be approached sanely. We take acceptable risks in many endeavours. For a distended analogy: why not require all food to be commercially canned? We'd have almost no more disease! But in one or two generations we'd also (likely) have a dearth of quality due to the difficulty of maintaining it in these conditions. I worry the same things will happen in these less extreme cases as well.

3. These sorts of restrictions are legitimate in the "giant, high speed facilities." Maybe they are not being followed there in France, and they should be. These facilities are where the problems are most of the time, and are where they spread so rapidly that preemptive action of this dire, regulatory sort is necessary. But I think the issue here is more that HAACP-style isn't being followed by artisans. And in that case, I think it's a vile and preposterous idea.

a) Artisans have a much smaller market and an epidemic is easier to control.

b) The people buying these products are more aware of the risks and accept them (same type of people who eat raw shellfish, raw egg sauces, etc.).

c) The costs of HAACP are likely highest in these sectors. These are people who will simply stop producing if regulated. This is a huge cultural cost that, to my mind, almost no immediate physical cost can balance.

I agree, Dick, the food system needs attention and inspection. But I do not agree that standardized and scientific methodologies for food production are the answer. The costs are too high on all other fronts.

Indeed, there is a battle of exactly this sort being fought in BC: the provincial gov't wants more inspection. The smaller producers say it will destroy them (and a burgeoning food tourism industry), and it likely will.

Meanwhile, the impetus for these demands comes from the huge and sickening amount of malpractice and disease in the large commercial slaughterhouses, who supposedly follow the best-of-breed versions of these practices already, with horrible results all around: disease, quality, morality, environment.

Sorry, all, for the incoherent nature of this post. The version before took too much out of me.

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dillybravo, you have the makings here of an excellent article. I plan to deal with this briefly in the next issue of Fine Food Digest. Have you seen any similar treatments in print?

EDIT: There's an excellent article, though four years old, from the LA Times by Emily Green, a very good food writer who wrote for the [London] Independent and who emmigrated to America: Gone for good?

Edited by John Whiting (log)

John Whiting, London

Whitings Writings

Top Google/MSN hit for Paris Bistros

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U.S. experts who inspected plants in France starting last month said they didn't conform with U.S. food safety requirements. Officials of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service found the sanitation systems failed to meet U.S. standards, said Steve Cohen, a department spokesman.

..because we all know how many USDA inspectors there are working in the US and the percentage of our food products that are actually inspected every year...

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Such delicacies can sometimes harbor harmful bacteria and have occasionally been linked to outbreaks of listeria poisoning, which causes high fevers, severe headaches and nausea. It can be potentially fatal to people with weak immune systems.

Don't you love living in a society afraid to live... or possibly live... or potentially live... or occasoinaly live... or could have lived...

Actually - if you're going to get into the science - as opposed to the rhetoric - what we're talking about here is processed meat - whether it's processed foie gras or bologna or hot dogs. The thing they have in common is that they're processed before they're sold to the consumer - and it's not expected that they will be cooked a lot (if at all) before they're eaten (cooking can eliminate a lot of problems in food). So if a place where these foods are prepared - whether it's a large factory - or a small home operation - has problems - the people eating the food are susceptible to problems - particularly listeria - which isn't at all benign. Robyn

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Hudson Valley Fois is a good product, so we'll probably live-

what else are we getting deprived of in the realm of saucisson and pates? Anyone using this stuff?

Once againg, the reminder is that we're talking about processed meat products, not raw foie gras. Individuals and companies in the US appear to be able to buy fresh foie gras from France or Hudson Valley to process themselves.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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  • 2 weeks later...
I had a huge and detailed response to this that was destroyed by a slip of some alt-shift-space-arrow-or-whatnot combination.

Fascinating thread, thanks to all who contributed here.

dillybravo, a suggestion, if you aren't already doing this -- after a similar experience a couple of years ago, I now compose any lengthy response in my word processing software (Word) & hit CTRL/S after every paragraph to save it as I go along.

When I'm done I just highlight/copy/paste the whole thing into my bulletin board response window.

This has saved my bacon a couple of times since the initial incident.

Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

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  • 4 years later...

[Host's Note: The following two responses have been split from the Chicago Foie Gras Ban topic.]

Glad to see the politicians finally got rid of this stupid bylaw.

Ducks and geese aren't fed like that anymore.

They have bred ducks and geese for this purpose and all they want to do is eat.

There is no cruelty to animals involved here and merely another case of animal rights activists getting out of control, again.

I'm sure the city council has more pressing issues than what people are shovelling into their mouths anyways.

Stick to politics and I'll stick to cooking and hopefully, the twain shall never meet again.......

"Why then, the world is mine oyster, which I with sword, shall open."

William Shakespeare-The Merry Wives of Windsor

"An oyster is a French Kiss that goes all the way." Rodney Clark

"Oyster shuckers are the rock stars of the shellfish industry." Jason Woodside

"Obviously, if you don't love life, you can't enjoy an oyster."

Eleanor Clark

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  • 3 weeks later...
Ducks and geese aren't fed like that anymore.

They have bred ducks and geese for this purpose and all they want to do is eat.

There is no cruelty to animals involved here (...)

Could you explain that to me in detail. I have been to alsace many many times - but never ever have I seen or even heard about what you describe. No duck and no goose eats enough to gain a "natural" foie gras...

I truly madly deeply love foie gras - but still I know very well that producing it is cruel to animals, no doubt about that. So Iam not sure if we should really be "happy" to see the ban reversed...

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I heard a story on NPR last year that talked about a Spanish producer of Ganso Ibérico. Their process eliminates gavage entirely and depends instead on the natural tendency of geese to gorge themselves silly prior to migration. I can't find a transcript of the story but if memory serves the product was well received. It can't be called Foi Gras (in France at least).

This also means that producers using this method get exactly one shot per year.

Schiltz Goose Farms is using this method as well here in the US.

Jon

--formerly known as 6ppc--

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