The obligation of minimum weights for foie gras is essential to ensure its quality and to protect consumers
The European Commission published the results of the external evaluation on food marketing standards in May 2020. This factual evaluation of current standards covered a wide range of products governed by the Common Market Organisation, including foie gras.
The document states that cases of fraudulent practices have significantly decreased since the introduction of the definition of raw foie gras with the obligation to place on the market duck livers of at least 300gr and goose livers of at least 400gr. This definition is moreover seen positively by several Member States.
Furthermore, the study indicates that abolishing the minimum liver weights “would not guarantee the presence of hepatic fatty cellular hypertrophy, which is considered to be essential to the taste and quality of the product”. The study also mentions Euro Foie Gras’ request to complete the current definition with a definition of processed foie gras, which represents 80% of foie gras products purchased by end consumers.
Attaching great importance to protecting consumers and ensuring that they make informed choices, Euro Foie Gras will continue to call for maintaining the definition of raw foie gras and adding the definition of processed foie gras. According to the action plan included in the “Farm to Fork” Strategy, the European Commission is expected to publish its proposal on the revision of food marketing standards in 2021 or 2022.
1998 SCAHAW Report: Obsolescence of findings, methodological limitations and opacity of observations
The Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Welfare (SCAHAW), replaced in 2004 by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), drew up a report in 1998 on the welfare of geese and ducks in foie gras production. In spite of a limited methodology and highly questionable conclusions and recommendations, the report is used by the foie gras opponents as a scientific endorsement; yet this endorsement is very weak considering that the report was not able to demonstrate the pathological character of liver steatosis, nor the hypothesis of stress or fear of the palmipeds at the time of assisted feeding. Worse still, the report is inaccurate with regard to the length of time the ducklings are kept indoors, the access of the palmipeds to light and their ability to stand up straight.
In addition to the shortcomings of the report, it should be noted that the conditions for rearing fat palmipeds have changed since its publication, and that other more rigorous studies have been published. Euro Foie Gras has taken the time to do an in-depth analysis of the various arguments developed in the report in order to provide reliable and correct information on the subject. You will find all the details of our analysis in our position paper.
In light of the elements stressed by Euro Foie Gras, the SCAHAW report cannot be cited as a reference report on the welfare of fat palmipeds and used against the sector.
The Federation continues to promote research with the aim of constantly improving practices for the benefit of animals, producers and consumers alike. Euro Foie Gras relies on trustworthy scientific data to ensure the well-being of the fat palmipeds on a daily basis.
Eager to go further than European legislation, the five European countries producing foie gras adopted in 2011 the European Charter on breeding of waterfowl for foie gras. This Charter sets out the commitments of the sector based on the 12 principles of the European Commission’s “Welfare Quality Project”.
At the national level, this proactive approach comes in different ways. In Belgium, the Royal Decree of 1994, modified in 2010, enacts specific obligations relating to the housing of fat palmipeds; in France, the voluntary approach “Palm I Trust” aims to guarantee and certify the good practices of the breeders with regard to animal welfare; and in Hungary, the Hungarian Poultry Council adopted in 2011 a Code of Good Practice for the waterfowl sector.
An interactive map to find French foie gras producers
The coronavirus pandemic has hit foie gras producers hard. They were unable to sell their products to restaurateurs and on markets, and thus saw their sales decline drastically. In order to help the sector to overcome this crisis, the CIFOG (Comité Interprofessionnel des Palmipèdes à Foie Gras) has created a map to geolocate French foie gras producers who sell their products on farm or for delivery.
In these farms, you will find foie gras and other products from fat palmipeds such as magret, confit or rillettes. They are mainly located in five regions: Occitanie, Nouvelle Aquitaine, Pays de la Loire, Brittany and Alsace. The logos “Foie gras de France”, “Confit de France” and “Magret de France” guarantee the origin of the products.
By clicking on the producer you are interested in, you will see his name and the type of animals he breeds. The button “Learn more” will then take you to a page with more information: opening hours, contact details, specialities…
This map will help the French but also tourists passing through the Hexagon this summer to find foie gras near them. This flagship product of French gastronomy is a must-try!
Private storage aid, “Farm to Fork” Strategy, and launch of the new logo: a rich and constructive GA for Euro Foie Gras
The General Assembly of Euro Foie Gras was held by videoconference on Wednesday, May 27. It was an opportunity to exchange on many important subjects for the European fat palmipeds sector.
The quarantine measures put in place in relation to COVID-19 have significant economic consequences on the sector with declining sales. For this reason, Euro Foie Gras reiterated its request to the European Commission for private storage aid. This measure is essential both to mitigate sector’s losses and to avoid food waste.
As several important documents were published ahead of the GA, the meeting was also an opportunity to discuss them in detail. One example is the publication, on 20 May by the European Commission, of the “Farm to Fork” Strategy which aims to develop more sustainable food systems through the involvement of all actors, both private and public. Euro Foie Gras will remain a proactive and constructive player in the future debate that will take place over the coming months.
In terms of communication, Euro Foie Gras’ members made the Federation’s new logo official. More modern and legible, the yellow has been replaced by gold in order to highlight the qualitative and gastronomic aspect of foie gras, an exceptional delicacy coming from an ancestral tradition. One can also note the presence of a duck and a goose, which at a glance makes it clear that foie gras comes from these two species of fat palmipeds.
This fruitful videoconference demonstrated once again the importance of collaboration between the producing countries in order to exchange on their respective national situation and to promote the fat palmipeds sector at the European level. This collaboration must continue as much as possible despite the special circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A new design logo for Euro Foie Gras
As you may have noticed on our website and social networks, Euro Foie Gras has a brand-new logo. It aims at a more design look, readable and clear. Indeed, if some elements have been retained such as the five stars, representing the producing countries, or the burgundy color, the logo has been greatly modernized.
The yellow has been replaced by gold to highlight the qualitative and gastronomic aspect of foie gras, an exceptional dish stemming from an ancestral tradition. One can also note the presence of a duck and a goose, which at a glance makes it clear that foie gras comes from these two species of fat palmipeds.
Euro Foie Gras’ General Assembly for the first time by video-conference
This year, the meeting circumstances for the General Assembly (GA) of Euro Foie Gras are very special. Although European countries are slowly starting to ease the quarantine measures, it is still too early to gather and travel. The GA will therefore be held virtually on Wednesday, May 27th in order to respect the sanitary measures put in place to fight against the coronavirus.
This GA is taking place in a difficult climate for the agricultural sector, and in particular for foie gras, which has seen its sales decrease during this period of quarantine due in particular to the closure of restaurants. It is therefore essential to bring together the various national representatives to work together to revive the sector.
The GA will also provide an opportunity to discuss other subjects of great importance such as market prospects and priorities for the second semester.
Interpalm launches a promotional campaign for foie gras
In times of quarantine, the internet allows us to keep in touch with our beloved ones, but also to keep up to date with current events. Interpalm, the Spanish interprofessional association of fat palmipeds, has used this time of quarantine to launch its #FoieGrasEspañol campaign of promotion of foie gras, a sector hard hit by the coronavirus crisis. In addition to a new website, Interpalm is also launching a contest to win foie gras or other duck products (more details below).
A new website: elfoiegras.es
Interpalm’s new website is online! It gathers information about Spanish production, foie gras and its by-products. This site also offers recipes and tips to cook this tasty dish in different ways. Indeed, foie gras can be easily preserved in jars or vacuum packed, and is therefore an ideal product to bring conviviality in these times of quarantine. In addition, consumers can find the contacts of Spanish producers in order to buy their products.
Earn 250 euros in duck products
An Instagram contest launched by Interpalm can allow you to win Spanish duck products for a value of 250 euros!
How to participate?
1) Follow the account @todoelfoiegras on Instagram
2) Like the contest’s publication
3) Post a picture or video of your foie gras and/or derived products-based dish, as well as a description of the recipe, mention @todoelfoiegras as well as a person with whom you would like to share your dish with.
The winner will receive a batch of foie gras and Spanish products derived from the duck worth 250 euros, to be used to cook tasty recipes at home. You can participate several times until 4 May. Good luck, and be creative!
Two hashtags: # FoieGrasEspañol and #DescubreElFoieGrasEnCasa
Producers of foie gras and their by-products are currently unable to supply restaurants, causing a significant drop in their sales. Do not hesitate to support them by consuming their products. By using the hashtag # FoieGrasEspañol or #DescubreElFoieGrasEnCasa to share your recipes, tips, or simply your love of the products, we will be able to relay your messages.
Coronavirus: call for extension of private storage aid to the poultry sector
As the current crisis linked to the COVID-19 pandemic hits the fat palmipeds sector hard, Euro Foie Gras calls on the European Commission to use a derogation to allow private storage aid for the poultry sector. Euro Foie Gras invites also consumers to support the sector by purchasing the various proposition of products: foies gras, magrets, confits… which will bring comfort and diversity during the quarantine.
In order to alleviate the losses for the various actors in the foie gras sector as well as food waste, we call on the European Commission to extend private storage aid to the poultry sector. “Faced with an unprecedented situation, I urge the European Commission to take exceptional measures,” said Christophe Barrailh, President of Euro Foie Gras. Poultry is currently not among the sectors that can benefit from private storage aid under the provisions of the EU Regulation 1308/2013. Euro Foie Gras is therefore asking the European Commission to use a derogation that would allow this crisis management tool to be opened up to poultry.
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