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bourdain

NYC Area Foie Gras Ban

128 posts in this topic

According to impeccable sources, I am led to believe that Assemblyman Michael Panter, freshman (and vegetarian) from New Jersey will next week introduce a bill making production and SALE of foie gras in that state a crime. A bill to prohibit production has already been put forward--but what would THIS legislation mean--if passed?

It would mean that D'Artagnan, the premier supplier of foie gras and foie-gras related products for New York tri state area restaurants and retail would be forced to go out of business or move elsewhere. In addition to no more foie that means no more magret duck breasts, duck bones, confit, charcuterie, or myriad other fancy food items from that essential source. Understand that the burgeoning New York restaurant fine dining scene GREW UP around Ariane Daguin's company. That she has--since the company's inception-- been a premier supplier of all things French, European, and hard to get for chefs--and not just foie!. New York menus reflected and continue to a great extent to reflect what she could import or create for her passionately devoted and grateful clientele of virtually every name chef in the North East. As well, she has provided, guidance, support, networking and help of every kind to chefs both French and otherwise--in short: she is a personality as central and integral to the whole landscape of professional gastronomy as Julia Child was to home cooks in her day. As well, the entire Franco/American subculture in New York revolves around her and around D'Artagnan products. To do think of the New York restaurant scene without her--or her company is to contemplate the apocalypse.

It is absolutely unbelievable that opportunistic politicians would attempt to bring shame and ridicule on their state, cripple the dining standards of New York City, remove a crucial primary color from every chef's palate so as to beat up on the easy target of a small, independently owned and operated company, built up over time through the hard work of an extraordinary woman. Meanwhile not DARING to tackle the far more destructive (to human AND animals) battery chicken issue--our country's voracious appetite for crispy fried chicken From Any Source Necessary. Why try picking on the Colonel on principal when there's a small business you can ruin for a few votes?

This is not a question of whether or not the production of foie gras is "cruel" or "crueler" than other processes involving food production. About lurid videos, gag reflexes or lack of. That has been explored elsewhere--and more authoritatively. This is a question of the dining public's right to choose. This is about a vital figure central to all our lives--we who claim to love food and fine dining-- and her ability to stay in business. This is about big goverment and a few lunatic fringe attempting to crush the little guy. With every likelyhood of succeeding. It's the final barricade, the last redoubt. If the invaders breach this line than dining as we know it will surely change beyond recognition.

As a longtime Jersey boy, I am ashamed and embarrassed for my state--particularly as I recently made a show which --over-optimistically perhaps, portrayed it as a place poised to become a serious food destination. This atrocity--if passed--could be the beginning of the end. The Final Victory of the Rubes and Extremists. New Jersey, New York chefs, and the dining public deserve better.

PLEASE write the criminally misguided assemblyman and make your opinions heard. The end could well be near.


Edited by bourdain (log)

abourdain

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This sucks. I wonder if they would care what a guy who was born in New Jersey, but now lives in Texas, thinks about all this?

Are there any other suppliers that approach what D'Artagnan provides?

ps. Speaking of New Jersey and your show, do you know if Travel Channel will re-air it? It's one epsidoe of No Reservations I have yet to see. (TiVo isn't always perfect)


Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"
jmeeker@eGullet.org

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Might this be much ado about nothing? A minor Philadelphia councilman read about Chicago, tried the same thing, got his day of headlines and two days of letters to the editor, and then returned back to obscurity.


Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

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Might this be much ado about nothing?  A minor Philadelphia councilman read about Chicago, tried the same thing, got his day of headlines and two days of letters to the editor and then returned back to obscurity.

I refer you to a recent Zogby poll on foie gras.

And I can assure you the people involved are taking it VERY seriously.

That would include 120 D'Artagnan employees and their families....


Edited by bourdain (log)

abourdain

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This is not just a New Jersey issue, since to be prefectly honest, other than in a select handful of top restos, when's the last time any of us ordered foie gras in a NJ restaurant? That said, if passed, the law's effect will be a a hard blow on all the best restaurants and gourmet kitchens across the country who rely on D'Artagnan's excellent product. Lawmakers would be better served inquiring into more humane practices, rather than banning well-accepted foods entirely. Until then, I will do my part to make sure New Jersey diners (and the rest of the nation) retain their right to choose.

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Might this be much ado about nothing?  A minor Philadelphia councilman read about Chicago, tried the same thing, got his day of headlines and two days of letters to the editor and then returned back to obscurity.

I refer you to a recent Zogby poll on foie gras.

And I can assure you the people involved are taking it VERY seriously.

Tony,

Do you have a link to that poll?


Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"
jmeeker@eGullet.org

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So are dope dealers now gonna be "slinging foie gras" on the street corner to needy chefs just like they sling crack? ...I can see it now, crack head to fellow inmate in chefs outfit. Man what you in for? Possession..., rock? No foie gras, says the chef....damn, you going down says the crackhead.

Note: All subjects are fiction and any resemblence to anyone living or deceased is purely a coincidence.....


Moo, Cluck, Oink.....they all taste good!

The Hungry Detective

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Assemblyman Michael Penter

It's Assemblyman Michael J. Panter (D):

http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/members/panter.asp

That page includes a contact link.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
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Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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36. Foie gras is an expensive food item served in some upscale restaurants. It is produced by force-feeding geese and ducks large quantities of food, causing the animals' livers to swell up to twelve times their normal size. A long metal pipe is inserted into the animal's esophagus several times a day. Often, this process causes the animals' internal organs to rupture. Several European countries currently prohibit this practice as cruel. Do you agree or disagree that force-feeding geese and ducks to produce foie gras should be banned by law in the United States?

Having messed around with market research a bit, I'm surprised the question, as phrased, didn't generate a 99% response in favor of banning foie gras. There is nothing impartial about this poll. My guess is it was financed by Farm Sanctuary or a similar organization. Shame on Zogby for lending its name to it.

And I can assure you the people involved are taking it VERY seriously.

That would include 120 D'Artagnan employees and their families....

I'm sure that is the case. And I want only the best for D'Artagnan and their employees and families. They have fed me quite nicely on occasion, other than some buckshot I once bit into.

But even though New Jersey once banned sunnyside up eggs for a short period of time until shouted down by the populace, I'm hoping and pretty sure this is just a politician trying to make his bones.


Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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36. Foie gras is an expensive food item served in some upscale restaurants. It is produced by force-feeding geese and ducks large quantities of food, causing the animals' livers to swell up to twelve times their normal size. A long metal pipe is inserted into the animal's esophagus several times a day. Often, this process causes the animals' internal organs to rupture. Several European countries currently prohibit this practice as cruel. Do you agree or disagree that force-feeding geese and ducks to produce foie gras should be banned by law in the United States?

Having messed around with market research a bit, I'm surprised the question, as phrased, didn't generate a 99% response in favor of banning foie gras. There is nothing impartial about this poll. My guess is it was financed by Farm Sanctuary or a similar organization. Shame on Zogby for lending its name to it.

And I can assure you the people involved are taking it VERY seriously.

That would include 120 D'Artagnan employees and their families....

I'm sure that is the case. And I want only the best for D'Artagnan and their employees and families. They have fed me quite nicely on occasion, other than some buckshot I once bit into.

But even though New Jersey once banned sunnyside up eggs for a short period of time until shouted down by the populace, I'm hoping and pretty sure this is just a politician trying to make his bones.

You put a lot of faith in the voting public. My point is that if not made forcefully aware of the consequences--to fine dining, to the dining scene as a whole, to New Jersey's good name, to a great company and good woman--and to 120 taxpaying Jersey based employees--this law could well pass. As it did in no less a place as Chicago.


abourdain

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My point is that if not made forcefully aware of the consequences...

Just tip their heads back and put a tube down their throats. Then you can force the consequences right down...

sorry. I kid! I kid!

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Might this be much ado about nothing?  A minor Philadelphia councilman read about Chicago, tried the same thing, got his day of headlines and two days of letters to the editor and then returned back to obscurity.

As much as I hope you're right, Holly, the success of similar legislation at the city level in Chicago and on a statewide, production-level basis in California makes me fear that the willy-nilly voting public in the US just may let this fly right through as Tony clearly despairs.

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Holly, you're definitely correct that this is a great example of biased questions leading to the result that the originating organization wanted in the first place. ... and you may be right that this will blow over -- but can the employees of D'Artagnan take that chance? And can we, as people serious about food and about the righ of individuals to make their own culinary choices, take that chance as well?

I very rarely eat foie gras ... and bordain is right -- this isn't about perceived cruelty. It's about whether a government: (a) can choose to effectively kill a small business that provides essential services to many people outside the scope of authority of that government; and (b) can limit freedom of choice for a significant population in an area that represents no danger to anyone.

I'd just as soon bury the NJ assembly with emails saying "vote no", so they understand that people are watching them ... and thus ensure this motion quickly dies and the assemblyman goes back to anonymity.

Let me see if I can find a website allowing us to send opinions to the NJ assembly.


JasonZ

Philadelphia, PA, USA and Sandwich, Kent, UK

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How often does legislation put forward by a freshman NJ assemblyperson ever get anywhere? I was under the impression that the answer is "pretty much never"; but I'm sure that there's someone around here who has some actual knowledge.

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Let me see if I can find a website allowing us to send opinions to the NJ assembly.

If you're serious about it, call or write a letter. Those will count for a lot more.

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From a September 16th post by chicagowench in the Heartland forum's thread on the Chicago foie gras ban.

The AP is reporting- and it was picked up in the New York Times today- that Daley's signed on officially to supporting the repeal.
Mayor Richard M. Daley of Chicago has signed on to a proposed repeal of a month-old city ban on foie gras, his spokeswoman, Jacqueline Heard, said Thursday. The proposal was made by two aldermen. The City Council banned foie gras because of concerns of animal cruelty. Foie gras is made by force-feeding geese and ducks so their livers expand up to 10 times their normal size. The ban angered restaurant owners and many of their customers.

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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Andrew, you're right ... as usual.

However, Holly, it looks like assemblyman Panter has already shown that he's not just kidding around ... and there are non-freshman politicians involved.

An earlier bill was introduced June 01, 2006: A3230, which "Prohibits forcible feeding of ducks, geese, and other poultry for the production of Foie Gras; directs State Board of Agriculture and Dept. of Agriculture to establish standards for humane feeding and raising of poultry for such purposes."

Sponsor was Joan M Voss (primary), with Thomas Giblin and Michael Panter as co-sponsors. Bill was referred to the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.

The link to the bill text is A3230, pdf text

As Tony Bourdain indicated, the new bill would add SALE to the list of prohibited activities.

If you want to write to your assemblyman/woman ... or to the relevant people involved in this, the names, addresses are:

Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee:

Fisher, Douglas H. - Chair

Albano, Nelson T. - Vice-Chair

Conaway, Herb

Dancer, Ronald S.

Karrow, Marcia A.

Committee Aides (often very useful to alert you on when a bill will be coming up for discussion in committee and how much support it has -- BTW, aides to individual assemblymen are often quite influential, so a phone call there can be better than any letter):

Democratic Aide: Elizabeth Stone (609) 292-7065

Republican Aide: Christopher Hughes (609) 292-5339

OLS Aides: Lucinda Tiajoloff (609) 292-7676

Bill Sponsors (listed above):

Voss, Joan M (primary)

Giblin, Thomas (co-sponsor)

Panter, Michael (co-sponsor)

Form of address is "The Honorable xxxxx" and salutation is "Dear Assemblyman/Assemblywoman"

The address is:

The Honorable xxxxx

New Jersey Senate

State House

P.O. Box 099

Trenton, NJ 08625-0099

or

The Honorable xxxxx

New Jersey General Assembly

State House

P.O. Box 098

Trenton, NJ 08625-0098

If you want to contact your own representatives, you can find them here: NJ Legislative Website, along with an electronic link to their email ... or use the address above to send regular mail. As Andrew noted, a real letter is given much more weight by legislators (and their staff), since it means someone really has to sit down and write it ....


Edited by JasonZ (log)

JasonZ

Philadelphia, PA, USA and Sandwich, Kent, UK

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According to impeccable sources, I am led to believe that Assemblyman Michael Panter, freshman (and vegetarian) from New Jersey will next week introduce a bill making production and SALE of foie gras in that state a crime. A bill to prohibit production has already been put forward--but what would THIS legislation mean--if passed?

It would mean that D'Artagnan, the premier supplier of foie gras and foie-gras related products for  New York tri state area restaurants and retail would be forced to go out of business or move elsewhere.  In addition to no more foie that means no more magret duck breasts, duck bones, confit, charcuterie, or myriad other fancy food items from that essential source. Understand that the burgeoning New York restaurant fine dining scene GREW UP around Ariane Daguin's company. That she has--since the company's inception-- been a premier supplier of all things French, European, and hard to get for chefs--and not just foie!. New York menus reflected and continue to a great extent to reflect what she could import or create for her passionately devoted and grateful clientele of virtually every name chef in the North East. As well, she has provided, guidance, support, networking and help of every kind to chefs both French and otherwise--in short: she is a personality as central and integral to the whole landscape of professional gastronomy as Julia Child was to home cooks in her day. As well, the entire Franco/American subculture in New York revolves around her and around D'Artagnan products. To do think of the New York restaurant scene without  her--or her company is to contemplate the apocalypse.

It is absolutely unbelievable that opportunistic politicians would attempt to bring shame and ridicule on their state, cripple the dining standards of New York City, remove a crucial primary color from every chef's palate so as to beat up on the easy target of a small, independently owned and operated company, built up over time through the hard work of an extraordinary woman. Meanwhile not DARING to tackle the far more destructive (to human AND animals) battery chicken issue--our country's voracious appetite for crispy fried chicken From Any Source Necessary. Why try picking on the Colonel on principal when there's a small business you can ruin for a few votes?

This is not a question of whether or not the production of foie gras is "cruel" or "crueler" than other processes involving food production. About lurid videos, gag reflexes or lack of. That has been explored elsewhere--and more authoritatively. This is a question of the dining public's right to choose. This is about a vital figure central to all our lives--we who claim to love food and fine dining-- and her ability to stay in business. This is about big goverment and a few lunatic fringe attempting to crush the little guy. With every likelyhood of succeeding. It's the final barricade, the last redoubt. If the invaders breach this line than dining as we know it will surely change beyond recognition.

As a longtime Jersey boy, I am ashamed and embarrassed for my state--particularly as I recently made a show which --over-optimistically perhaps, portrayed it as a place poised to become a serious food destination. This atrocity--if passed--could be the beginning of the end. The Final Victory of the Rubes and Extremists. New Jersey, New York chefs, and the dining public deserve better.

PLEASE write the criminally misguided assemblyman and make your opinions heard. The end could well be near.

Tony, it's a *politician!* His goal is votes. That his *only* goal! The tack here is to figure out who among his constituency has sold him on the notion that this will garner him more votes. Some toady of his who acts as a voter vane has sold him on this. That's where the heart of this will lie. I am sure he doesn't think there are enough vegetarians out there to keep him in office. (Send him some of the data on how many animals PETA kills every year.)

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Thanks for the link...I sent an email to all 3 of the politicians listed on the site, and will send the same one to my local pols.


"I'm not eating it...my tongue is just looking at it!" --My then-3.5 year-old niece, who was NOT eating a piece of gum

"Wow--this is a fancy restaurant! They keep bringing us more water and we didn't even ask for it!" --My 5.75 year-old niece, about Bread Bar

"He's jumped the flounder, as you might say."

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My first thought is that a similar bill was defeated in another part of the country. (Illinois, maybe?) Remember everyone, this is election time, and politicians throw out issues and see what will 'stick'. (and with everything happening in this country, this is a non-issue that should sink into the abyss. ) But it will only happen if we "follow the links".

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Freakin Food Nazi's strike again!

Tony,

what are some of your chef friend's saying? I imagine at this point it is wait and see but will we see acts of defiance over this if it happens like in Chicago?

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I'm all for more duck, and less government. i'm also all for D'artagnan, as i only recently figured out how to pronounce it. foie gras i could probably live without. confit, however, well now you've just got me pissed off.

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