Contribution to the Roadmap on the Farm to Fork Strategy
The European Federation of Foie Gras – Euro Foie Gras – welcomes the willingness of the European Commission to address the issue of food sustainability in a holistic way by “designing a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food system” under the Green Deal.
All the actors of the Federation, which brings together the different stages of the food chain in the five European producing countries , are committed to food quality, animal health and welfare, environmental sustainability and good information to consumers while ensuring a decent revenue to the breeders and contributing to the life of rural areas.
Euro Foie Gras looks forward to working with the European Commission on the Strategy as well as on the various texts that will stem from it.
The goose under the spotlight in Périgord
The goose was celebrated on the weekend of 7th and 8th March 2020 at the Sarlat Fest’Oie, in the Périgord (France). This event takes place every year since 2009 in the small village of Sarlat. The Sarlat Fest’Oie aims to showcase this exceptional local product, and to promote all stages of production in the sector.
During the numerous activities, visitors visited goose farms, learned how to cook goose foie gras through preparation workshops and cutting demonstrations … They also enjoyed goose carcass soup and plates composed of dry sausages, goose rillettes, dried duck breast, and aiguillettes accompanied by the famous Sarlat potatoes. In a festive and friendly atmosphere, the numerous musical and visual animations put the palmiped in the center of the festival, for the pleasure of all.
In 2011, the Association “Foie Gras du Périgord” created the brand “L’Oie du Périgord” (the Périgord Goose), in order to defend and protect the quality and origin of local products linked to the goose. The official launch of the brand took place during the Sarlat Fest’Oie 2012.
Périgord is the leading French goose production area with 130,000 geese and products of excellence.
Find all the information about the Sarlat Fest’Oie on the Sarlat tourisme website.
Picture © Sarlat Tourisme
Medal rain for foie gras at the Paris Agricultural Show
For more than a week, visitors to the Paris International Agricultural Show enjoyed French local products and world specialities, and met exhibitors, who were able to share their passion for products of excellence. Wines, cheeses, oysters, snails and of course foie gras… Tastings were numerous in the different pavilions of the Show.
Foie gras, represented by numerous family stands, received a multitude of prizes at the General Agricultural Competition. Gold medals were awarded to Maison Metzler, Le vieux Chêne, Ferme des Rouvies, Maison Lembert, Ferme Bastebieille, Cabannes Joël et Benoît, Sudreau, les Canards d’Auzan, Labeyries SAS division specialized markets, Famille pères, AFG Foie gras, La Bélaudie Havard and La Drosera Gourmande. 32 silver and 31 bronze medals were also distributed.
The honoured Regions were delighted with the numerous prizes awarded for their local products. Georges Méric, President of the Departmental Council for Haute-Garonne, stressed: “These prestigious awards contribute to the influence of agriculture and the gastronomic heritage of the Haute-Garonne in France and on the international stage. We are proud to defend a sustainable agricultural model that respects the traditions of farming and livestock production and takes into account the interests of today’s populations and future generations“.
You can consult the details of these prizes on the General Agricultural Competition website (tick « Concours », « Produits issus de palmipèdes gras »). The prizes awarded for other local products (poultry, dairy products, jam…) and wines can also be found there.
Picture © general Agricultural Competition
European meeting on foie gras
Brussels, 20 February 2020
The 6th edition of the cocktail of the Circle of Foie Gras Friends was held on Tuesday, 18th of February in Brussels to celebrate this delicacy. Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), representatives of the European Commission, permanent representations of Member States, regional representations and stakeholders met at the Stanhope Hotel to discuss this product, ambassador of European gastronomy.
Following the European elections of 26 May 2019, the Circle of Foie Gras Friends is pleased to welcome ten MEPs from foie gras producing and consuming countries. The cocktail was an opportunity to induct them as members. The Circle is also delighted to count on the loyalty of several re-elected MEPs.
In his opening speech, Mr. Christophe Barrailh, President of Euro Foie Gras, stressed the importance of the European marketing standards for poultry meat for the European foie gras sector: “The future delegated act revising these standards must imperatively maintain the definition of minimum liver weights for the designation ‘foie gras’, and if possible, include a definition of ‘processed foie gras’ (…) in the interest of consumers and producers attached to a product of excellence”. He also insisted on transparency, a value to which Euro Foie Gras is very attached, by offering farm visits to all interested guests.
Throughout the evening, the guests had the
pleasure of tasting several recipes created by Stanhope chef Laurent Gauze
based on foie gras, smoked duck breast and duck gizzard, in a festive and
Some winter recipes around foie gras
After Winter holidays when foie gras is traditionally a part of the celebrations, it is not yet the time to store those delicious winter recipes in the cupboard. Here are some suggestions for recipes that can be savoured particularly well by these cold temperatures.
First, a classic with a twist, why not try this easy brioche nests with foie gras recipe?
If you like mulled wine, this recipe of foie gras with pears poached in spiced wine should be a delight!
A nice recipe to welcome your guests would also be foie gras with “petits gateaux” and toasted chestnuts.
And finally, if you would like to enjoy foie gras in its simplest apparel, we would suggest cabbage stuffed with duck foie gras and truffles.
And, as we say in French, bon appétit!
Sullivan County finds New York foie gras ban unconstitutional
Voted on October 30 by the New York City Council, the ban on the sale of foie gras is expected to apply from 2022 onwards to all stores and restaurants in the city.
The European Foie Gras Federation – Euro Foie Gras – had strongly criticized this demagogic decision based on misconceptions [see our press release], but this ban, in addition to having no solid foundation, will also have disastrous consequences for rural activity in Sullivan County, New York.
Indeed, this is where the two largest foie gras farms in the United States are located, La Belle Farm and Hudson Valley Foie Gras. With 380 employees and while New York City is their largest market, these two producers and Sullivan County believe that the ban places an unreasonable restriction on their business – that is, outside of the jurisdiction of the municipality of New York – and officially filed a petition with the State on December 11 to have it declared unconstitutional. If their request is successful, New York City – where foie gras is on the menu of nearly 1,000 restaurants – will be forced to overturn its decision.
European livestock sector unites to ‘burst’ the myths surrounding the sector
Brussels, 10th December 2019 – Representatives from the European livestock sector gathered today in front of the European Commission buildings in Brussels to address the danger of oversimplifying the debate around livestock and its role in European society. This flash action echoes a number of concerns highlighted by the numerous protests that have taken place in different European countries in recent weeks.
Aiming to tackle the myths that prevail online today and the agri-bashing related to livestock production, the European Livestock Voice, a group of EU-based organisations that are active on livestock issues, decided to raise their voices at EU-level by bringing together farmers, MEPs and other actors from the sector to ‘burst’ a series of balloons carrying common myths or misinformation in front of the European Commission building. This action took place on the first day of the European Commission’s Agricultural Outlook conference and a few days after the new European Commission was appointed in order to try to rebalance the debate around livestock production.
Marianne Streel, President of the Wallonian Farmers Organisation, who was present during the flash action, said “We want to urge people and policy-makers to pay attention to the European livestock sector and to the misleading information that is damaging its reputation and endangering farmers’ livelihoods and even their lives in some cases. In Wallonia, farms shut up shop every day. In the last 10 years, 31% of our farms have disappeared. These are clear and frightening figures that can also be found in other Member States. If we lose our livestock farms, the repercussions will be significant in many areas, both in our countryside and on our plates. These consequences are currently overlooked in the debates because we tend to forget the positive aspects of livestock in Europe.”
In this regard, professionals from the sector are starting to mobilise to raise awareness throughout Europe, from Ireland to Italy, with initiatives that aim to make their point of view heard and remind decision-makers that the debate on these issues is also constantly evolving at academic level. The European Livestock Voice launched an initial campaign at EU level supported by a website with the aim to engage in the debate, focusing on facts and feedback from professionals in the sector. During the flash action, the organisers announced that the group will continue and expand these actions in the coming months.
Stop food dictatorship and harassment from activists!
Brussels, 15 November 2019 – Following our first press release (available here), Euro Foie Gras wishes to express its outrage at the new action of animal activists in a starred restaurant in the Limburg region offering three dishes based on foie gras.
In the restaurant, the activists asked to shut down Filip Callemeyn’s farm with signs and slogans. We want to recall that Mr Callemeyn is the only producer of foie gras in Flanders, a region where his activity was unfortunately banned from 2023 by a decision based on a lack of knowledge of the production and prejudices caused by false images and ideas shared by animal activists.
This attack against Mr. Callemeyn’s activity is scandalous. After the action on his farm and the occupation of an Antwerp supermarket selling his products last weekend, we call for the harassment of which Mr Callemeyn is victim to stop. This product is legally manufactured and marketed. Euro Foie Gras gives its full support to Filip and his family who are alone in dealing with these actions while their future is already uncertain because no compensation system has been proposed yet by the government.
Euro Foie Gras considers that a minority of people do not have to impose their food choices on the rest of the population, let alone by intimidation and violence. Euro Foie Gras also calls on the Minister to clearly condemn this type of behavior against Flemish farmers and breeders.
Euro Foie Gras, the European Federation of Foie Gras, brings together producers’ federations from France, Belgium, Bulgaria, Spain and Hungary. Its goal is to establish a continuous exchange of good practices, know-how and promote the profession of foie gras producer.
Attack on a foie gras farm in Flanders: a shameful and intolerable action
Brussels, 12 November 2019 – The European Federation of Foie Gras – Euro Foie Gras – strongly condemns the action against Filip Callemeyn, a foie gras producer in Bekegem (West Flanders). On Saturday morning, November 9, around forty animal activists entered his farm, some chaining themselves to the facilities, provoking an abnormal disorder. The stress and panic generated by these irresponsible people caused the direct and indirect death of about 500 animals.
For Mr Callemeyn, “this attack was perpetrated by people who have a total ignorance of our production and more generally of animals. I am shocked by this action that lasted a whole day in my farm in violation of private property and to the detriment of the welfare of my ducks. How can you claim to defend animals and carry out an action which causes their death?”
“This attack against a foie gras farm is unspeakable. All European foie gras producers express their support and solidarity to Filip in this ordeal,” said Christophe Barrailh, President of Euro Foie Gras before adding “We will not let ourselves be intimidated by these unworthy and absurd actions using extremely violent methods while we are in a democratic State in which dialogue must always prevail. We are passionate breeders and we raise our animals with respect, ensuring their welfare and in compliance with the law. “
The European Federation of Foie Gras recalls that the production of foie gras is extensive, family-based and essentially outdoor. Palmipeds live 90% of their life outside. The last 10 days, they are placed in collective housing for the fattening phase. At the cost of substantial investments, the fat palmipeds sector changed all its equipment to comply with the Recommendation of 22 June 1999 of the Council of Europe.
Euro Foie Gras also strongly protests against Sunday’s action in a supermarket in Antwerp selling foie gras from Mr Callemeyn’s farm. This is again an intolerable act of pressure and harassment, this time targeting an economic player.
Against the will of some people to impose by violence their vision of food, Euro Foie Gras opposes dialogue. Despite attacks and threats, the European foie gras sector will continue to be transparent by keeping opening up farms to the public. European producers are proud of their know-how and the delicacy they produce.
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….Euro Foie Gras, the European Federation of Foie Gras, brings together producers’ federations from France, Belgium, Bulgaria, Spain and Hungary. Its goal is to establish a continuous exchange of good practices, know-how and promote the profession of foie gras producer.
Euro Foie Gras: New York City ban on foie gras based on misconceptions and demagoguery
Brussels, 31 October 2019 – The European Federation of Foie Gras – Euro Foie Gras – deplores the ban on the sale of foie gras voted on Wednesday, 30th of October by the New York City Council. This law will affect from 2022 onwards all stores and restaurants in New York City that sell foie gras.
This measure is totally unjustified: foie gras originates from healthy waterfowl, which spend 90% of their life outdoors before the fattening phase which lasts between 10 and 14 days, with two meals per day. Contrary to the allegations of the anti-foie gras lobby, foie gras production respects animal welfare. Migratory birds naturally stock fat in their livers and the fattening of geese and ducks is a mere reproduction of this natural, non-pathological, and totally reversible physiological ability. Indeed, offering quality living conditions to their animals is a daily concern for any waterfowl farmer. This is essential for the animals and a prerequisite to obtain a quality product. The compatibility of the fattening phase with animal welfare has been proven by scientific studies. This reality is constantly ignored by those who misinform the general public by leading them into an anthropomorphic perception of the animal who, although sentient, remains nonetheless different from a human being.
This ban is also a restriction of freedom for passionate cooks and consumers in New York and it poses an existential threat to local duck farms, who employ hundreds of workers in the State of New York. Before the vote, not a single member of the City Council has accepted the invitation from foie gras producers to visit a foie gras farm, so as to find out by themselves the reality of the production. Due to this lack of contact with the true situation on the ground, the decided ban was clearly based on misconceptions and slogans, rather than on facts. This is clearly shown by the sloppy definition of the term “force-feeding” in the prohibition text.
For Christophe Barrailh, President of Euro Foie Gras, “it is scandalous that the marketing of this exceptional gastronomic and healthy product is prohibited, especially in the so-called country of the Free.”
Euro Foie Gras wishes to express its solidarity with New York’s foie gras producers, stores and restaurants facing this irrational decision. The Federation will continue to defend the right of consumers from Europe and across the Atlantic to enjoy foie gras in an era of continuous bashing of animal breeders and misinformation about their activities without taking into consideration their important contribution to food security, food safety and cultural heritage.
 Among others:
- Z. Erisir & al. 2009, “Effect of different housing systems on growth and welfare of Pekin ducks”, Journal of Animal and Veterinary Advances 8(2).
- MS Dawkins, 2012, “Commercial scale research and assessment of poultry welfare”, British Poultry
- Science.E. Baeza, « La stéatose hépatique des palmipèdes », INRA Prod. Anim, 2013, 26 (5), 403-414.
- W. Molee, « Facteurs de variation de la composition lipidique des membranes plasmiques des hépatocytes chez les palmipèdes : relation avec le rendement technologique des foies gras », S.E.V.A.B., 2006.
- E Baéza & al., 2005, “Canards de Barbarie, Pékin et leurs hybrides: aptitude à l’engraissement”, INRA Productions.
- P. Chartrin & al.,2004, « Effet du génotype et du gavage sur les dépôts de lipides intramusculaires dans le filet de canard », Viandes et Produits Carnés, Hors-série des 10e Journées des Sciences du Muscle et Technologies des Viandes.