UK & World News
Good For The Goose: California Bans Foie Gras
Lovers of foie gras in California have run out of time to enjoy the controversial delicacy.
The state has banned sales of the foodstuff with a penalty of $1000 (£636) to any restaurant that continues to serve it.
The ban may be good news for geese overall, but they have paid the price in recent days.
In a state previously known for oil and gold rushes, there has been a stampede for foie gras ahead of the ban.
"Practically every night in June saw another multi-course foie gras menu staged in another famous restaurant," reports the Los Angeles Times.
On the menu apparently, foie gras doughnuts, shaved foie gras piled in drifts and, says the paper, so much "foie gras ice cream" has been doled out it "actually became a clich?
"SB 1520" comes into effect - banning the production and sale of foie gras - this weekend.
It is the way foie gras is made that has fallen foul of Californian legislators.
Gavage is the process whereby geese and sometimes ducks are force fed through tubes rammed into their throats, fattening up their livers to produce a staple delicacy of haute cuisine.
Opponents of the bill say it is the thin edge of a legislative wedge that could one day lead to sanctions against the consumption of meat for instance. Today foie gras, tomorrow chickens, they fear.
They are worried it may embolden activist vegans to hijack the legislative process for other ends.
For a country notorious for its poor quality cuisine, America is taking a closer interest in controlling food for a variety of reasons.
The foie gras ban has been imposed on moral grounds but on the other side of the country New York Michael Bloomberg has outlawed super-size sodas, because of their impact on ballooning American waistlines.
There has also been a huge public outcry recently about so called "pink slime", a by-product of meat production used in junk food. Thousands of schools have banned the product from their meals.
The ban on foie gras is also causing controversy in France, where the dish was invented.
The French, who have long ridiculed their revolutionary cousins for their poor diet, have reacted with disapproval to the new law.
"It's a question of cultural shock," said Marie-Pierre Pe, general delegate of the Paris-based Interprofessional Committee of Foie Gras. "Could you imagine France banning ketchup or hamburgers?"
No, but then French radicals have been known to drive bulldozers into McDonalds restaurants, it has to be said.