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French Foie Gras Exports Halted Due to Bird Flu

Sadly, for the libertines who have no moral opposition to shoving food into the bellies of birds with a long, metal tube, things aren’t getting better for the foie gras industry.

by Nick Rose
Dec 5 2016, 6:00pm

Photo via Flickr user H. Alexander Talbot

It's been a rough year for the most decadent of meat products.

First, it was announced that foie gras producers were being forced to quarantine their force-fed geese after an H5N1 bird flu outbreak affected 69 farms in southwest France. Then, months later, an all-out ban on production was enforced in 18 of France's 101 administrative départments. It was also banned from being exported outside of Europe.

Sadly for the libertines who have no moral opposition to shoving food into the bellies of birds with a long, metal tube, things aren't getting much better. This time, a particularly virulent strain of H8N1 on a farm in the town of Carmaux has led to the death of 3,000 of 5,000 geese on the the farm, along with their delicious livers, according to The Local.

And while this strain of bird flu is not harmful to humans—it's highly contagious among birds—it will be harmful for the humans whose livelihood is dependent on the sale of foie gras.

READ MORE: Bird Flu Could Cause a Foie Gras Shortage in France

According to legislative documents, 64 départments in France have had their risk level raised from "negligible" to "elevated" in the wake of this most recent outbreak. With Christmas around the corner, a time associated with humans force-feeding themselves foie gras in France, this most recent scare means that the risk of shortages and soaring prices are even higher.

Economically, the stakes are high, with the average French person spending 29 euros annually on foie gras, an industry valued at a whopping 2 billion euros. Every year, French farmers force-feed approximately 38 millions ducks and geese to provide 20,000 tonnes, or 75 percent of the world's supply, of foie gras.

This recent outbreak also means that these producers remained banned from exporting their product outside of Europe. So, if you were hoping to hook up your favorite stateside francophile with a can of authentic French foie, you'll probably have to settle for a fancy bottle of wine from the Fuck, That's Delicious Holiday Gift Guide.