Judge: Californians can buy foie gras from out of state


FILE – In this Friday, May 11, 2012, file photo, Foie Gras is torched and made into a Brulee at the Sent Sovi restaurant in Saratoga, Calif. Foie gras is back on the menu in California after a judge ruled the rich dish can’t be prevented from being brought in from out of state. California’s ban on the delicacy, the fattened liver of a duck or goose, was challenged by out-of-state producers. An appeals court upheld the ban, but on Tuesday, July 14, 2020, a judge ruled for the plaintiffs, including farmers in Canada and New York. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — A federal judge has ruled that California residents can again legally buy foie gras, provided the product and transaction are made out of state, but they still can’t get the delicacy in restaurants.

California’s ban on foie gras, the fattened liver of a duck or goose, was challenged in court by out-of-state producers who said they lost nearly one-third of their sales after the prohibition took effect.

U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson ruled Tuesday the sale of foie gras doesn’t violate the law if the seller is outside of California and the product is given to a third-party delivery service and brought into the state.

“There is no principled way to distinguish between foie gras purchased out of state and transported into California by the purchaser and that which is delivered by a third party,” the judge wrote.

The ruling only applies to people who buy foie gras for individual consumption. Restaurants and retailers are still prohibited from selling it or giving it away for free, said Kelsey Eberly, an attorney with the Animal Legal Defense Fund.

“Nothing has really changed. Selling foie gras is still illegal. Nobody can sell it, restaurants can’t serve it,” Eberly said Thursday.

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