Foie gras is back on the menu in California after a federal judge ruled the rich dish can’t be prevented from being brought in from out of state.
California’s ban on the delicacy, the fattened liver of a duck or goose, was challenged in court by out-of-state producers who said they lost nearly one-third of their total sales when the prohibition took effect.
A federal appeals court eventually upheld the ban, but on Tuesday U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson decided for the plaintiffs, which include farmers in Canada and New York and a restaurant. They had challenged part of the law that banned liver produced out of state from being sold.
Wilson ruled the sale of foie gras doesn’t violate the law if the seller is located outside of California and the product is given to a third-party delivery service and brought into the state.
“There is no principled way to distinguish between foie gras purchased out of state and transported into California by the purchaser and that which is delivered by a third party,” the judge wrote.
The issue had been simmering in courts for years since lawmakers in 2004 barred California farmers from producing it because the birds are force fed.