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NYC Area Foie Gras Ban


bourdain
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This stinks--thanks for passing the news on, AB--I was aware of the first squib fired, but the second attempt looks serious.

We can't afford to have a resource like D'Artagnan threatened for political expediency.

And thanks, JasonZ for the relevant info about contacting legislators--

I'm getting on this now--it's unfortunate that it's so difficult to get people to understand this issue--foie gras is such an easy target--I've used AB's comparison of the horrendous conditions for factory raised chickens and people just get that glazed look in their eyes--I can hear then thinking "she's insane".

I know someone who's an insider in NJ government--I'll call her tonight to see how much we need to worry here--it could be something akin to right fringe pols holding up plastic fetuses in front of cameras to get attention-- but in case it's not writing letters is a good thing!

Zoe

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So, I made some phone calls--

talked to the Dem and Rep Assembly Legislative Aides for the Agricultural Committee--and their opinions are that there isn't a lot of movement or push for this bill thus far--won't even know if it is even on the agenda to be discussed at the next committee meeting until a week before--around October 15th.

However, with the media attention this may change--so who really knows at this point.

I next called Marcia Karrow's office--she's actually on this committee-- and the woman I spoke to says she doesn't think Karrow is for this bill, but she didn't know too much about the undercurrents of it--Karrow is going to call me back on this--will post when I hear anything more.

and to clarify--I was discussing A3230--not the future more serious bill.

Zoe

Edited by zoe b (log)
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So, I made some phone calls--

talked to the Dem and Rep Assembly Legislative Aides for the Agricultural Committee--and their opinions are that there isn't a lot of movement or push for this bill thus far--won't even know if it is even on the agenda to be discussed at the next committee meeting until a week before--around October 15th.

This is a good start. Don't rely on media, traditional or digital, for all your information on this or any topic. It will usually be nothing more a gloss-over of a press release, at best, to editorializing disguised as news at worst.

However, with the media attention this may change--so who really knows at this point.

In many cases, media attention actually is the point.

SB (treading lightly) :wink:

Edited by srhcb (log)
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I live in Chicago-

where it is now illegal to SELL foie, so they are

GIVING it away-

....oh but they do charge $15.99 for the salad....

:laugh::raz:

Ya gotta love the ingenious spirit of things....

I too may only eat these luxury items on rare occasions,

but I take GREAT offence at any food police trying to tell me what I may and may not eat!

Shut up and mind yer own bidness!

I'm tired of hearin about the ppor little animals.

I agree with what Tony said in his Sweden episode about things that are slower than us and taste good-

"Pass the salt"

Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans....

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Bringing the proposed ban to the attention of the restaurants, the public and the government officials will only help. The more media and opinions of everyone can bring the truth and greater information forward. I live in Chicago, and believe that even with our media attention and all the local chefs who pleaded not to have foie gras banned, it still passed in our city government. Now some of the aldermen who at first voted on the ban are reconsidering reversing the foie ban. I truly believe if the alderman were given more information and had more discussions they would not have hastily banned the product.

If we had a farm raising these special ducks such as D'Artagnan I would hope that the alderman would visit and or talk to the duck farm to make a decision before voting.

From the Sun-Times in Chicago.... regarding one of the alderman.

Natarus said he went along with the foie gras ban because he's a softy for animals.

"It was a mistake in judgment -- and that can happen to anybody," Natarus said.

Bring the information out. Keep the topic open and hope those who have to vote are informed of the product and the importance in many recipes used by the chefs in the east coast restaurants who rely on the liver from D'Artagan farms.

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And with the NYC Board of Health wanting to ban all but minute quantities of trans-fats from all restaurant products, pretty much ruining french fries and baked goods as a food source, it's just a matter of time before we'll all laying teats-up in the park, chewing our cud and wishing for the smallest taste of anything greasy and good.

I don't eat foie gras, doubt that I WOULD eat it, but I really don't think it's some New Jersey sprout-eater's job to keep me and those who might eat it from eating it. This is AMERICA, dammit!

Small difference between trans fats and foie gras: to my knowledge, foie gras is not carcinogenic to humans.

(Not that I would really care to live in a world without french fries, either!)

Agenda-free since 1966.

Foodblog: Power, Convection and Lies

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I'm tired of hearin about the ppor little animals.

I agree with what Tony said in his Sweden episode about things that are slower than us and taste good-

"Pass the salt"

Though this is exactly the sort of statement that you want to avoid, if you don't want to see foie gras banned. Freedom of choice, traditional farming; those are good talking points. The right to just, like, kill whatever you want? Not so much.

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I'm sure my quality of life wouldn't be diminished in any noticeable way by banning foie gras -- I'd just eat more veal and caviar to compensate

This issue is not about foie, nor is it about D'Artagnan, their incredible products or their suffering workers. This issue is about a legal precendent that once set, can be applied to other types of foods (veal, kobe style beef, etc) which in turn WILL impact all of our quality of life.

The focus needs to be on researching and developing better farming conditions, not banning foods.

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From the Sun-Times in Chicago.... regarding one of the alderman.

Natarus said he went along with the foie gras ban because he's a softy for animals.

"It was a mistake in judgment -- and that can happen to anybody," Natarus said.

yeah, and really this will be the prevailing public view--only those who have thought very carefully about food and food production issues will feel otherwise

Freedom of choice, traditional farming; those are good talking points. The right to just, like, kill whatever you want? Not so much.

hehehe--if we can keep this an agricultural and small business issue rather than a class/elite against animal lovers issue there will be a better chance of succeeding.

This issue is not about foie, nor is it about D'Artagnan, their incredible products or their suffering workers. This issue is about a legal precendent that once set, can be applied to other types of foods (veal, kobe style beef, etc) which in turn WILL impact all of our quality of life.

The focus needs to be on researching and developing better farming conditions, not banning foods.

very true, although i can't help bleeding for D'Artagnan and also the farmers around the country who are supplying thei products.

Zoe

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Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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And with the NYC Board of Health wanting to ban all but minute quantities of trans-fats from all restaurant products, pretty much ruining french fries and baked goods as a food source, it's just a matter of time before we'll all laying teats-up in the park, chewing our cud and wishing for the smallest taste of anything greasy and good.

I don't eat foie gras, doubt that I WOULD eat it, but I really don't think it's some New Jersey sprout-eater's job to keep me and those who might eat it from eating it. This is AMERICA, dammit!

Small difference between trans fats and foie gras: to my knowledge, foie gras is not carcinogenic to humans.

(Not that I would really care to live in a world without french fries, either!)

Well, charred beef has been shown to harbor carcinogens, and I wouldn't want to give it up, either. And foie gras is not exactly a health food.

I just get worried that the more busybodies start taking foods they don't agree with off our plate, the menu we have to choose from begins to shrink. Before too long, caviar's off the list, veal's off the list, swordfish's off, red snapper's off, and you're left choking down farm-raised catfish suishi and veggie burgers -hold the mayo.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“A favorite dish in Kansas is creamed corn on a stick.”

-Jeff Harms, actor, comedian.

>Enjoying every bite, because I don't know any better...

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[...]I don't put much stock in the "I rarely eat foie gras so I don't care" attitude. People should care. A lot of people only have sex, read a book or take a vacation once a year -- or less. Doesn't mean that banning those things would be okay. Nor is public policy supposed to be determined by self-interest. I'm sure my quality of life wouldn't be diminished in any noticeable way by banning foie gras -- I'd just eat more veal and caviar to compensate -- but I'm still opposed to the regulation because it's wrong. Likewise, I'm sure the fine dining industry would be hurt very little by a ban -- D'Artagnan would take a big hit but surely survive, restaurants would make small menu adjustments and all would be well -- but that doesn't make the ban okay. It's still an unacceptable, misguided and opportunistic political power play that should scare the heck out of anybody who believes people should be able to choose what they put in their bodies.

Well, I agree with all of that, but yelling "Doomsday" is still excessive.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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to assume that

"D'Artagnan would take a big hit but surely survive"

is a leap of faith.  Why would or should they take a big hit?  [snip snip]  It's like asking Kentucky Fried Chicken to continue to do business without  chicken. (Hey--you can still make money on the soft drinks!)

Well said. I'm sure it's been posted elsewhere as well, that if a proposed food ban was going to affect a Tyson, it would be fought hard and with lots of money. If D'artagnan was giving big chunks of money to someone's campaign fund, this wouldn't have a chance of passing.

Rhetoric -- not quite. I hope people who think that things would eventually adjust and go on just as nicely as before think again. This will start the spiral -- because the anti-foie people aren't going to stop there. The next product that activists attempt to ban will affect more than just the "rich foodies."

"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office
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I'm composing my letter(s) right now to send to all these people.

Are we, as gulletteers, doing this in any organized way?

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

Overheard at the Zabar’s prepared food counter in the 1970’s:

Woman (noticing a large bowl of cut fruit): “How much is the fruit salad?”

Counterman: “Three-ninety-eight a pound.”

Woman (incredulous, and loud): “THREE-NINETY EIGHT A POUND ????”

Counterman: “Who’s going to sit and cut fruit all day, lady… YOU?”

Newly updated: my online food photo extravaganza; cook-in/eat-out and photos from the 70's

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Are we, as gulletteers, doing this in any organized way?

Definitely not, for a couple of reasons. First, any eGullet Society member should feel free to be in favor of or opposed to this ban, or to take any position in between. We don't have an official position on this. I happen to think the ban is a very bad idea, but that's just me. Second, we aren't a political lobbying organization nor do we engage in electioneering. As a 501c3 nonprofit public charity, we don't go there.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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And with the NYC Board of Health wanting to ban all but minute quantities of trans-fats from all restaurant products, pretty much ruining french fries and baked goods as a food source, it's just a matter of time before we'll all laying teats-up in the park, chewing our cud and wishing for the smallest taste of anything greasy and good.

I don't eat foie gras, doubt that I WOULD eat it, but I really don't think it's some New Jersey sprout-eater's job to keep me and those who might eat it from eating it. This is AMERICA, dammit!

Small difference between trans fats and foie gras: to my knowledge, foie gras is not carcinogenic to humans.

(Not that I would really care to live in a world without french fries, either!)

We may be getting off topic here, but the subject of trans fats and french fries can use some clarification. Most of my information comes from Good Fat by Fran McCullough, published by Scribner.

Denmark virtually banned all trans fats in processed food in 2003. Trans fat labeling became manadatory in the US this year. Generally speaking, trans fats are an unnatural fat created by hydrogenizing unsaturated fat. Cancer cells and bacteria also produce trans fats. The body has trouble dealing with this fat, but to make things more difficult, it should be noted that a natural trans fat, conjuugated linoleic acid, which is found in milk and meat, is good for you.

Trans fats resemble saturated fats, but are not the same thing. Saturated fats don't become rancid as quickly as unsaturated fats. There's probably no such thng as a fat that's 100% saturated or unsaturated. Bacon has plenty of the same good monosaturated fat as olive oil is famous for having. Of course not in the same amount or proportion.

You don't need trans fats to get good fries. You'll get better tasting french fries using saturated beef tallow than hydrogenated trans fats. You'll also get healthier fried food. For some reason, naturally saturated fats are less likely to be absorbed in the fried foods than hydrogenated fats. Thank lobbyists for pressuring McDonald's to make the switch from beef tallow. The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a misnomer if there ever was one, is a prime example of this kind of lobbyist.

Duck fat, goose fat and foie gras is actually a pretty healthy fat resembling olive oil perhaps as much as it resembles lard, not that lard and bacon are entirely bad fats, especially in moderation. The problem for me in all this legislation is not that the goverment doesn't have the right to legislate in these areas, it's just that they're too damned ignorant to make the decisions. In fact, there's still disagreement among scientists, and I mean real scientists, not the pseudo scientists/real lobbyists, for anyone to enact the sort of health bans being proposed. Education and labeling is good and proper. Beyond that, the consumer is responsible for making decisions.

Foie gras is not particularly unhealthy, at least not any more than most salad dressings. The issue here is not a health issue. I don't see it as an ethical issue either, but that's what Panter, a vegetarian according to an AP writer, wants us to believe it is. I've been very outspoken about my opinions here, on my site and elsewhere. I won't repeat most of what I've said before. There are all sorts of shameful abuses of animals raised for food. Gavage is not one of them. It's been wel documented that the process causes no stress or harm if done properly. Foie gras, like chicken, can be raised ethically or inhumanely. To the best of my knowledge, the farms currently raising ducks for their fattened livers, treat their poultry far better than the industrial chicken raisers producing cheap protein for supermarket shelves.

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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Are we, as gulletteers, doing this in any organized way?

Definitely not, for a couple of reasons. First, any eGullet Society member should feel free to be in favor of or opposed to this ban, or to take any position in between. We don't have an official position on this. I happen to think the ban is a very bad idea, but that's just me. Second, we aren't a political lobbying organization nor do we engage in electioneering. As a 501c3 nonprofit public charity, we don't go there.

Aaah.

I just meant to say that I am writing (as I did a while ago to Joan Voss regarding her ridiculous bill), and was hoping that other members were doing the same (don't mean that to be inciteful). And if you've written one, Fat Guy, I'd love to see it, as I do believe you're one of the more eloquent people around; however, if that falls outside the rules as you've explained them, I understand.

Overheard at the Zabar’s prepared food counter in the 1970’s:

Woman (noticing a large bowl of cut fruit): “How much is the fruit salad?”

Counterman: “Three-ninety-eight a pound.”

Woman (incredulous, and loud): “THREE-NINETY EIGHT A POUND ????”

Counterman: “Who’s going to sit and cut fruit all day, lady… YOU?”

Newly updated: my online food photo extravaganza; cook-in/eat-out and photos from the 70's

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And with the NYC Board of Health wanting to ban all but minute quantities of trans-fats from all restaurant products, pretty much ruining french fries and baked goods as a food source, it's just a matter of time before we'll all laying teats-up in the park, chewing our cud and wishing for the smallest taste of anything greasy and good.

I don't eat foie gras, doubt that I WOULD eat it, but I really don't think it's some New Jersey sprout-eater's job to keep me and those who might eat it from eating it. This is AMERICA, dammit!

Small difference between trans fats and foie gras: to my knowledge, foie gras is not carcinogenic to humans.

(Not that I would really care to live in a world without french fries, either!)

Well, charred beef has been shown to harbor carcinogens, and I wouldn't want to give it up, either. And foie gras is not exactly a health food.

I just get worried that the more busybodies start taking foods they don't agree with off our plate, the menu we have to choose from begins to shrink. Before too long, caviar's off the list, veal's off the list, swordfish's off, red snapper's off, and you're left choking down farm-raised catfish suishi and veggie burgers -hold the mayo.

Don't forget lobster.

Cooking is chemistry, baking is alchemy.

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Bourdain,

D'A may sell foie duck by-products now, but duck raised other ways is also delicious, and probably cheaper to produce. So if foie production is banned, its quite possible it will not be the end of that business. The duck products will be available, probably at the same price, but also quite probably at lower cost to the producer, therefer higher profit margin. You give no credit to the owner's ingenuity while at the same time you list all the ways they've bolstered their business model by providing unique and hard to get items, all things duck etc.

Is your 30% number 30% of their total sales, or 30% of their profits?

Your subsequent posts have clouded what I thought was a clear answer at the bottom of page 1.

Aside from the economics for D'Artagnan, I would prefer the proposed ban be defeated. Its silly in a country that okays large egg-factories etc.

<editted to remove COPS jargon>

Edited by Kouign Aman (log)

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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Well, I wrote to assemblyman Pecker, and 17 other members of the NJ State Legislature.

Overheard at the Zabar’s prepared food counter in the 1970’s:

Woman (noticing a large bowl of cut fruit): “How much is the fruit salad?”

Counterman: “Three-ninety-eight a pound.”

Woman (incredulous, and loud): “THREE-NINETY EIGHT A POUND ????”

Counterman: “Who’s going to sit and cut fruit all day, lady… YOU?”

Newly updated: my online food photo extravaganza; cook-in/eat-out and photos from the 70's

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Tony,

Do you have a link to that poll?

http://www.nofoiegras.org/FGzogby.htm

Gracias.

Your country is rather confusing: 'Panter To Chair Solid Waste?'

Please confirm.

Edited by jamiemaw (log)

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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This may be a dumb Q, but how much effect will letter-writing from people who are not only not even these people's constituents, but from completely different states have?

I have an entire wall in my office dedicated to the numerous letters I've received back from my representative (Kucinich) in response to my numerous letters to him, and I think that makes a difference, but he knows my vote affects him, as does my word of mouth to my friends and neighbors, who are also his constituents. I don't know whether or not my contacting someone from NJ would have any effect since why should he care, I don't vote him into or (hopefully) out of office.

If anyone can shed light that indicates it would help, I will be more than happy to write. Between this and the bill introduced in NY regarding trans-fats, I can't believe all the effort these people are wasting going after the wrong people/organizations, when there are so many that are actually worthy of their scrutiny and legislation which would actually help U.S. consumers.

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