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Schwarzenegger terminates foie gras in California


Bruce Cole
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hey derricks, i spoke to a french chef today who said that french foie gras can be anywhere between 500-650gms in weight these days. he also dismissed american foie gras. his manner of dismissal was impressive and amusing at the same time. i am not going to elaborate further on that issue.

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The young ducklings are fed a normal ration of corn and soy protein. As the ducklings grow they are switched to a feed of 100% pure white corn.

I stand corrected. Thanks for the info, though I'm curious to hear the dismissal of American foie gras.

The last stage, the force-feeding stage (also known as gavage), differs at Hudson Valley from other methods, and relates to the traditional, 5000 year old method of hand feeding the ducks individually for a period of 4 weeks, instead of French and Canadian methods of only 2 weeks.

I did know HVFG still does the four-week version (they use funnels with little motors attached, which simulate the sticks gaveurs used to use to work the corn down the tube). In fact, HVFG often seems to struggle with labor issues because in order to keep the feeder the same (keeps the ducks comfortable, as has been mentioned earlier in this thread), the feeders have to work for the full time. I think it's a stretch to say that it relates to the traditional method of 5000 years ago; the funnel/tube combo I'm pretty sure only goes back to the Roman Empire.

SFG does the two-week version, but its livers end up about the same size.

Derrick Schneider

My blog: http://www.obsessionwithfood.com

You have to eat. You might as well enjoy it!

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jamiemaw: thanks. it was very informative

bux: i wrote a whole reply but it fluttered away in net space..

however..it was all notes circling around this and this .

Jamiemaw's post was most informative. My only comment on his decision to stop eating foie gras because he is unable to ascertain its source would be to ask if we can do little more than trust our suppliers when we cook at home and our chefs when we eat out as to the conditions not only under which the ducks are raised. Equally as important is exactly how free is the range of our chickens. If some ducks are subjected to appalling conditions, I suspect it's worse for chickens and perhaps the rest of our livestock. I'm far more at a loss to respond to vegetarians who call for an end to the consumption of all flesh, than those who target foie gras.

Lalitha, your first link was to a very intersting source. It had perhaps, more information that I could process, but it appears to be an interesting source of much information. The second link didn't work. Either the site is down at the moment, or there's a typo in the URL.

I've heard various chefs exclaim a preference for American, French, goose or duck foie gras. In some cases it may just represent a personal taste or the taste for the more familiar product. I met Troisgros père at CT, his son's restaurant in NY and without any promtping, he cited American foie gras as a product than impressed him. I placed little importance on that as well. I had excellent foie gras produced in Quebec and cooked in Vancouver, but there were no scientific controls and it would be silly for me to attempt any comparison. It's enough to say it was excellent product most superbly prepared. Local ice wines may have also affected my ability to have been impartial. These are complex issues.

In the meantime it's worth adding that newspaper articles I have since read make me understand why the Sonoma producer was in favor of signing this bill which protects the foie gras producer from lawsuits for the next seven years while he lobbies for better protection.

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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Lalitha, your first link was to a very intersting source. It had perhaps, more information that I could process, but it appears to be an interesting source of much information. The second link didn't work. Either the site is down at the moment, or there's a typo in the URL.

The second link worked for me at the time; it's the EU's report from 1998 on the well-being of birds that are force-fed, the favored document of people opposed to foie gras. I find it more biased than it seems; there are places where it's obvious the authors spun the original papers to sound more negative. There's also a tendency to put the negative points early in the paragraph and bury the positive points. Of course, some English members of the committee told me (off the record, alas) that the recommendations would have been more severe if the French members of the panel weren't so numerous. So it's sort of biased in different directions.

Derrick Schneider

My blog: http://www.obsessionwithfood.com

You have to eat. You might as well enjoy it!

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If you got the geese stoned so they would have the munchies, would that still be considered force-feeding?

"Homer, he's out of control. He gave me a bad review. So my friend put a horse head on the bed. He ate the head and gave it a bad review! True Story." Luigi, The Simpsons

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Waitrose is currently trying to find a new supplier for its own-brand foie gras products which, they say, do not use force-feeding methods. They claim the ducks that supply its products will grow 350g livers naturally over a period of 25 days with an unrestricted diet as opposed to the 600g liver produced in 14 days by force-fed birds.

By the way, thought you'd guys appreciate a follow-up on this. I've been talking to their customer service department trying to get some info on this. They stopped selling it two years ago, they can't recommend any chefs who have worked both with it and force-fed foie gras, and they can't or won't tell me if their product is exactly like foie gras except for the smaller size. And they didn't exactly trumpet the product to begin with, when I would think it would be one of the hottest press releases a company could release about foie gras. Imagine the demand!

So I remain skeptical, but I'd love to hear differently. Obviously the UK wouldn't need to conform to whatever rules the EU has about the term foie gras.

Derrick Schneider

My blog: http://www.obsessionwithfood.com

You have to eat. You might as well enjoy it!

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Obviously the UK wouldn't need to conform to whatever rules the EU has about the term foie gras.

I think that's incorrect. The UK is part of the EU, just not part of the euro currency club. Actually hard to keep the names and acronyms straight in my head. I base my statement largely on the flap that developed over chocolate. Over the objections of both Belgium and France, the UK managed to get the EU to define "chocolate" as a product containing a certain percentage of vegetable fat--think Crisco shortening or margarine--in lieu of cocoa butter. One now has to read the fine print on packages of chocolate in the EU.

To a large degree the food laws promulgated by the EU bureaucrats are the product of bureaucracy and heavily influenced by bureaucrats, scientists and public officials, all with political interests and few with what we might call quality of product interest. There are few people in important positions who are willing to represent the consumer's interest and save the consumer from "those interested in protecting the consumer."

Bux

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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No, but I don't think Cheeto's make good foie gras. Too orange. :smile:

How about corn nuts? :biggrin::biggrin::biggrin:

Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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As I read it - Link to Cal. legislature's info on bill

You face a $1000 fine per bird, plus $1000 per day in which the practice occurs. I also read this as

          4. Defines "force feeding" of a bird as a process that 

            causes the bird to consume more food than a typical bird 

            of the same species would consume voluntarily while 

            foraging.

          5. Provides that force-feeding methods include, but are not 

            limited to, delivering feed through a tube or similar 

            device inserted into the bird's esophagus.

To be a nitpicker... feeding pigeons in the park, which could concievably make their liver fatty, would now be a very expensive proposition.

It's badly written. They wrote it for "birds" in general, trying not to trap themselves when people started using other breeds of birds...

Screw it. It's a Butterball.
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I think that's incorrect. The UK is part of the EU, just not part of the euro currency club. Actually hard to keep the names and acronyms straight in my head.

As it is for me. Your explanation makes sense, though.

Come to think of it, I don't know if there's an actual definition in the EU for "foie gras" by itself. There are definitions for various preparations that include foie gras (percentages of foie and such) but I wonder if you're safe as long as you don't use one of those terms. And they may just be in France; I can't remember if it's EU-wide or not. Hmmm. Something to figure out when I get home. :smile:

Derrick Schneider

My blog: http://www.obsessionwithfood.com

You have to eat. You might as well enjoy it!

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