During a recent visit to Gers in southern France, a region known for its foie gras, François Hollande was talking tough. “French foie gras farmers have made a huge effort to meet standards, respecting all the conditions imposed at European level for the well-being of the animals.
"Foie gras is a great French product which honors the farmers who devote their lives to it. We consume practically all that France produces, but we also have exports and I will not allow any challenge to foie gras exports from particular countries or from certain American states," said Hollande, alluding to a Californian ban on the delicacy.
On July 1, the American state outlawed the selling and making of foie gras, which is produced by force-feeding ducks or geese, causing their livers to swell to up to 10 times their normal size.
Hollande claimed the United States could not forbid free trade between countries or prevent the sale of a “good product like foie gras,” particularly when the “sanitary” conditions and “comfort of the animals” are respected. He pledged to bring the matter to the attention of America’s leaders.
France produces almost 80 percent of the world’s foie gras. "Even though we would like to consume everything here in France, sometimes we are not able to afford to buy it and when that happens, I wouldn't want Americans to be deprived of it," the president said.
The president's visit to Gers came just a week after the new Deputy Minister for Food, Guillaume Garot, visited the area and announced that the government had ruled out taking the matter to the World Trade Organization, a decision reported on Wine-Searcher.
-AFP with Wine-Searcher staff