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Poulet de Bresse

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From the article:

Canadian officials have ruled that French poultry slaughter practices do not meet Canadian standards, so no French chickens -- not even the gourmet Bresse variety -- can be imported.

That strikes me as very odd, but the specifics of this are not addressed. What specific complaints do Canada - and the U.S, also mentioned in the article as banning the importation of Bresse chickens - have with French poultry slaughter practices?

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Pretty soon, every country will ban every other country's food and we'll all be stuck eating only what we produce internally. :biggrin:

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Jacques Pépin has long touted Bourg-en-Bresse chickens as the best anywhere; He grew up in that town as well.

If you haven't read Pépin's book The Apprentice, it's a wonderful read, and the first 50 pages are about life in Bourg-en-Bresse!!

How silly of those Canadian authorities!

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Silly? I think so! But I still want to know what their reasoning is.

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Silly? I think so! But I still want to know what their reasoning is.

You'll just have to get on the next flight to Lyon!! :biggrin:

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Um, menton, how does getting on a flight to Lyon explain the Canadian authorities' objections to French poultry-slaughtering procedures?

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Since these are also banned in the US, it could be a conspiracy to keep North American consumers from tasting a chicken that's been raised right. If French slaughtering practices are a problem, Georges Blanc could just bring along a few live ones and slaughter them in Canada. :biggrin:

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To keep us focused,

Canadian officials have ruled that French poultry slaughter practices do not meet Canadian standards
The United States has also refused to allow imports of the poultry.

It's my understanding that live chickens may, and have been imported, but as young chickens to be raised her on this side of the Atlantic. To qualify for the appellation d'origine controlee of course, the chickens have to be raised in France according to strict conditions.

By law, a farmer must provide at least 10 square metres per chicken on which it hunts for worms, snails and other food.

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I don't agree with banning French chickens but I also don't think they are the best in the world. The best chicken I've had in the past few years has been in Japan (not imported). In fact I was rather disappointed by a poulet de Bresse (so labeled on menu) I had at Guy Savoy.

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By far the best chickens I've ever had were free-range village chickens in Malaysia.

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I find this whole story very odd, I'm sure most of you have head all of the horror stories about the GMO pumped "chicken" that KFC uses :angry: (i.e. chickens that are bred with out feet, beeks and feathers to cut down on processing and that live in cages and are hooked up to needles-for easy feeding) and to say that the french producers aren't up to our standerds...

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Once again, to discuss the problem, one has to understand the problem and there's problem with the quality or health or nutritional aspects of the chickens. It's a matter of the slaughtering. I am totally ignorant of Canadian laws regarding importation of meat, but my understanding is that you cannot import meat into the US unless it's approved by the Department of Agriculture and you can't get that approval unless the slaughter house has a USDA inspector in residence. Naturally the cost of his salary is borne by the slaughter house. This is just a part of the law. Arguing that the meat is tastier, healthier or better in any way is not germane to the reasons it is banned. French chickens are not banned, it's just not economical to import such a small number of them legally.

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.....and you can't get that approval unless the slaughter house has a USDA inspector in residence. Naturally the cost of his salary is borne by the slaughter house.

To the best of my knowledge, the USDA inspector is paid by the government.

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.....and you can't get that approval unless the slaughter house has a USDA inspector in residence. Naturally the cost of his salary is borne by the slaughter house.

To the best of my knowledge, the USDA inspector is paid by the government.

Hmm, I've been led to believe the reason we can't get any real Spanish hams is because it doesn't pay for them to have a USDA inspector. There are several scenarios that might make us both right. It could be that there's some sort of permit required before the USDA sends a man there and that there's a minimum fee for the permit that's prohibitive for a small operation, or it could be that the rules are different for foreign slaughter houses.

It's one thing to have a local inspector in every domestic slaughter house. It's another to provide one in an overseas slaughter house just because they say they are thinking of exporting a few hams to the US.

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I was refering to US slaughterhouses, but you're right, we're obviously not going to pay for USDA inspectors in other countries.

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My guess is also that US slaughter houses pay quite a bit in operating fees to various governmental agencies. I've never been involved in a slaughter house, but every business with which I've been invovled has its share of paperwork, fees and taxes.

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Robb Walsh has an interesting piece on visiting Bourg-en-Bresse, including an interview with a Bresse chicken farmer. It's in his new book, Are You Really Going To Eat That?

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Robb Walsh has an interesting piece on visiting Bourg-en-Bresse, including an interview with a Bresse chicken farmer. It's in his new book, Are You Really Going To Eat That?

More information on Are You Really Going To Eat That? at amazon.com or ecookbooks.com

Richard, is there any snippet of humor or interest to this discussion you can excerpt or summarize for us as a mini review?

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I'm sure most of you have heard all of the horror stories about the GMO pumped "chicken" that KFC uses :angry:

It's a complete crock.

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My guess, Bux, is that this has to be an issue of economics rather than food safety. The French certainly have as good if not better food safety standards as in North America; maybe if this were a third world country it would make more sense from a safety standpoint.

We need a Q & A with Jacques Pépin! (I love that guy!)

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My guess, Bux, is that this has to be an issue of economics rather than food safety. The French certainly have as good if not better food safety standards as in North America; maybe if this were a third world country it would make more sense from a safety standpoint.

We need a Q & A with Jacques Pépin! (I love that guy!)

Economics may play a factor, but the article referred to Canadian slaughter house standards not being met in France. We don't know exactly what standards are not being met and in fact it may only be that there's not a Canadian inspector there to verify a standard. In that case it doesn't matter whether the French standards are higher than the Canadian ones. I am of course, just speculating, but it can also be a case of having different standards or of the French not meeting some dumb standard that is nothing but the result of successful lobbying by a Canadian manufacturer or supplyer of some arcane product.

Years ago, it was illegal to sell, or maybe import, beer in anything but brown bottles in Puerto Rico. That was the result of successful efforts by someone whose competitor was going to import Heineken. They made brown bottles for the Heineken beer, but they lost a distictive edge and brand recognition. We'd be foolish to assume all laws are made for the common good or that they are all reasonable.

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That's true, it could also be about bureaucrats perpetuating the bureaucracy, or better, justifying their occupations!

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That's true, it could also be about bureaucrats perpetuating the bureaucracy, or better, justifying their occupations!

Which is what they do best.

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I buy a Poulet de Bresse every once in a while, I'd say twice a month. The prices the other day were €8.60/kilo (about $4.75/lb.), about the price of the free range chickens I can get from the butcher. I've tried several ways to cook them, from putting them on the spit to slow braising, and I have yet to prepare a Poulet de Bresse that takes me to that higher plane. More often than not, it tastes like - chicken. Plain old normal regular chicken. The skin is pretty, that's about it. Wondering if because I am getting smaller ones (cooking for two) - thus younger, and less flavorful birds?

What's the best way to choose a Poulet de Bresse? Can anyone share their memorable experiences being served Poulet de Bresse in a restaurant, and how was it prepared? Is there anything else I should know about them to help me the next time I pick one up?

Thanks in advance

Lucy

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