Foie gras imports could be banned after Brexit

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

Foie gras imports could be banned after Brexit
UK restaurants could be forced to take foie gras off the menu following a potential crack down on imports after Brexit, a minister has suggested.

The controversial food is made using enlarged livers of ducks and geese that have been force-fed.

Production has been banned in the UK since 2000, though over 100 tonnes were imported in 2017 – and it is served in many restaurants.

Farming minister George Eustice told MPs yesterday (13 June) that there could be new “restrictions on sales” of the product after Brexit.

He was responding to a question from Conservative MP Henry Smith (Crawley), who said foie gras was “cruel to produce, unhealthy to eat and expensive to purchase” and it was time to ban the “outdated practice”.

The product is still farmed in Hungary, Bulgaria, Spain, Belgium and France – where law states it is part of French “gastronomical heritage”.

Eustice said the Government felt the production of foie gras raised “serious welfare concerns”.

“While we are a member of the European Union, we are required to observe law that places restrictions on the introduction of measures that impair the movement of goods within the EU market,” he said.

“When we leave the European Union, we do indeed have an opportunity to look at restrictions on sales.”

Controversial dish

A number of UK restaurants and hotels have taken foie gras off the menu following pressure from animal welfare groups.

Chef Daniel Clifford stopped serving it in 2008 after his two-Michelin-starred Midsummer House restaurant was vandalised by the Animal Liberation Front.

Hotel group Malmaison Hotel du Vin and contract caterer Compass Group have also removed it from menus following pressure from animal rights groups.

Speaking at Restaurant​ magazine’s Restaurant Congress this week, chef Alexis Gauthier said he used to sell 20kg of foie gras a week at his restaurant Gauthier Soho in London, but is now moving towards a completely vegan menu.

The Labour Party also proposed introducing a ban on foie gras imports earlier this year.

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