France Stops Foie Gras Production For Three Months

France to stop foie gras production for three months

In France, foie gras is simply a part of life: It's sold at neighborhood markets and even tops waffles at brunch in Paris. The average French person spends 29 euros on the fatty goose liver annually. Now the country has put in place a three-month ban on the production of it in southwest France, Munchies reports—but not for the reason you'd expect.

While lots (read: LOTS) of animal rights activists—and people in California—support a ban on the product for humane reasons (ducks and geese are force-fed food to plump up their livers), this ban actually has nothing to do with that. Late last year, the H5N1 virus, a type of bird flu, was found on a chicken farm in the region. The virus is not only deadly for poultry but can be deadly for humans as well.

The area impacted normally produces 70 percent of France's foie gras, so prices could skyrocket through the summer, and producers could be out as much as 140 million euros. The ban will also stop the production of other products in the foie/pâté family, like magrets de canards and confits de canards.

A spokesperson for a producers' federation tells French outlet Le Figaro, "This interruption to our business will cause cash flow problems, additional wage costs linked to the temporary unemployment of around 4,000 workers and fixed costs that will have to be paid despite us not having any income."