Food-Drink

Lawsuit challenges California foie gras ban

May 11, 2012: Foie Gras dishes are served at Sent Sovi in Saratoga, prior to the ban.

May 11, 2012: Foie Gras dishes are served at Sent Sovi in Saratoga, prior to the ban.  (AP )

Days after a foie gras ban came into force in California, a Los Angeles restaurant group and others have filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the bill outlawing the controversial delicacy.

AFP reports that Hot's Restaurant Group, Canada's Association des Eleveurs de Canards et d'Oies du Quebec and New York-based producer Hudson Valley Foie Gras claim the ban is "unconstitutional, vague and interferes with federal commerce laws."

Foie gras -- fattened liver of a duck or goose, usually by force-feeding corn to the bird --was the target of animal lovers who persuaded the state legislature to ban it. 

The legal challenge claims the 2004 law is unclear in defining what constitutes force-feeding, said attorney Michael Tenenbaum, who filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles this week.

California lawmakers agreed the ban in 2004, but allowed for a grace period of seven and a half years to comply before it came into effect on July 1 this year. Restaurants serving the gourmet item can be fined up to $1,000. 

More On This...

Meanwhile, the OC Register is reporting that some restaurants continue to use foie gras.  The day after the ban Antoine Price, owner of Cafe Mimosa in San Clemente, served up a meal titled "Foie You!," where foie gras was the centerpiece of all seven dishes --including dessert. 

"They can lock me up if they want," Price told the Register. "I don't mind."