Foie gras imports to the UK could be banned after Brexit, according to a Conservative MP. Production in the UK has been banned since 2002, however over 100 tonnes were imported in 2017. Farming minister George Eustice said the UK is required to observe law which restricts the introduction of measures which hinder the movement of goods within the EU market.
The controversial food is made using enlarged livers of ducks and geese that have been force-fed. Eustice told MPs Wednesday (13 June) that there could be new on sales of the product after Brexit. He was responding to a question from the Conservative MP of Crawley Henry Smith, who said foie gras was cruel to produce, unhealthy to eat and expensive to purchase and it was time to ban the outdated practice.
The product is seen as part of French gastronomical heritage and is still farmed throughout Europe in Hungary, Bulgaria, Spain, Belgium and France .
Eustice said “While we are a member of the European Union, as (Mr Smith) pointed out, we are required to observe law which places restrictions on the introduction of measures that impair the movement of goods within the EU market. When we leave the European Union, we do indeed have an opportunity to look at restrictions on sales along the lines that (Mr Smith) pointed out. We know there are no barriers under WTO law, something which is sometimes raised by some people – there are clear precedents for putting in place ethical bans when it comes to WTO law. Some countries – notably India – have brought forward bans on the sale of foie gras.”
A number of UK restaurants and hotels have taken foie gras off the menu following pressure from animal welfare groups. After his two-Michelin-starred Midsummer House restaurant was vandalised by the Animal Liberation Front Chef Daniel Clifford stopped serving it in 2008. Following pressure from animal rights groups contract caterer Compass Group Malmaison Hotel du Vin have also removed it from menus