The production of foie gras is clearly defined in European regulations.
On the 9th March 2015, the EU Commissioner in charge of Health and Consumers, Vytenis Andriukaitis, reminded in an answer to a European Parliamentary question:
"Foie gras production is covered by Directive 98/58/EC concerning the protection of animals kept for farming purposes. This directive reflects, within Union legislation, the approval by the Union of the European Convention for the Protection of Animals kept for Farming Purposes of 1976 (‘the Convention’). Two Recommendations relevant to the production of foie gras, concerning Muscovy ducks and their hybrids and domestic geese respectively, were adopted under the Convention on 22 June 1999. The recommendations, while not prohibiting the production of foie gras, explicitly acknowledge the legality of this production under certain conditions."
According to the 1991 regulation on marketing standards for poultry meat “foie gras is defined as originating from an animal specially fattened and a minimum weight is set”. Recital 5 of the regulation specifies that “in the case of the product known as ‘foie gras’ the high value and consequent risk of fraudulent practices make it necessary to lay down especially precise minimum marketing standards".
The livers must have the following weights:
Since October 1993, “magret de canard” has also been defined in the regulation on marketing standards for poultrymeat as originating from an animal having produced foie gras.
Foie gras producers apply European legislation on the protection of animals kept for farming purposes. This directive transposes the principles of the European Convention on the Protection of Animals kept for Farming Purposes of 1976. In particular this regulation lays down that “the freedom of movement appropriate to an animal, (…), shall not be restricted in such a manner as to cause it unnecessary suffering or injury”
“No animal shall be provided with food or liquid in a manner (…) which may cause unnecessary suffering or injury”
Lastly, the Council of Europe’s Standing Committee also adopted a specific recommendation in 1999 which authorises the production of foie gras where it currently exists but calls for: