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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Mayor Newsom Signs Resolution Commending SF Restaurants That Remove Foie Gras From Their Menus, as Plumpjack Restaurants Remove It From Theirs

Posted By on Tue, Apr 7, 2009 at 9:39 PM

click to enlarge PHOTO BY RUI ORNELAS
Gather ye fattened duck or goose livers while ye may.

It seems as if the tide of pc history is against you.

Mayor Gavin Newsom signed the resolution that was unanimously passed by the Board of Supervisors commending SF restaurants that have removed foie gras from their menus, ahead of California Health and Safety Code 25980, which will make it illegal to sell or produce foie gras in California effective in 2012.

And, in a related development, foie gras was removed from any menus on which it appeared in the partly-Newsom-family-owned Plumpjack restaurants, which Newsom's sister and Plumpjack Group President Hilary Newsom said was "the right thing to do."

The entire text of the resolution, which gets its licks in concerning other foodstuffs, including eggs from battery cages, and veal and pork from confinement cages, and what are termed "healthy vegetarian selections," follows:

Resolution Commending Restaurants that have Removed Foie Gras from their menus.


"Foie gras," or fattened liver, is the artificially enlarged liver of a

duck or goose that has been force fed twenty percent of its healthy

body weight for two to three weeks, resulting in a liver that is

typically ten times its normal size; and


Cal. Health and Safety Code 25980, et. seq. will make it illegal to

sell or produce foie gras in California, effective 2012. At least

fifteen countries have banned foie gras production, and only a few

still produce it; and


independent Zogby International poll of American adults revealed that

77% agreed that the process of force-feeding ducks and geese in order

to produce foie gras should be banned by law in the United States; and


Virtually all animal protection groups recognize foie gras as

inherently cruel, including the Humane Society of the United States

(HSUS), the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

(ASPCA), In Defense of Animals (IDA), Farm Sanctuary, and the Animal

Protection and Rescue League (APRL); and

WHEREAS, Chef and restaurateur Wolfgang Puck recently implemented

a nine-point animal welfare program for all of his restaurants,

including those in San Francisco, that eliminates the use of eggs from

battery cages, veal and pork from confinement crates, and foie gras,

and adds healthy vegetarian selections; and


his [sic] Board has already passed resolutions favoring cage-free eggs,

and 72% of San Francisco voters approved Proposition 2 in November 2008,

in which California voters overwhelmingly banned other cruel factory

farming practices such as battery cages, veal crates, and pig gestation

crates; and

WHEREAS, The San Francisco Commission if [sic] Animal Control and Welfare recently passed a resolution commending restaurants that have stopped selling foie gras before the Californias statewide ban goes into effect, and encourages San Franciscans to avoid consuming foie gras; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That The Board of Supervisors of the City of San Francisco, for and on behalf of the people of San Francisco, commends the many restaurants that have stopped selling foie gras before the California statewide ban goes into effect, and encourages San Franciscans to avoid supporting this extreme form of animal cruelty.

The resolution was adopted on March 24, 2009, and signed by Newsom on April 2.

On April 7, 2009, you could still command a Moulard duck foie gras "a la torchon" for a $30 supplement on the French Laundry's Chef's Tasting Menu, with Belgian endive relish, toasted walnuts, green apples, watercress, and a clove gastrique; Gary Danko's spring menu features seared Sonoma foie gras with caramelized red onions and rhubarb; and in February Daniel Patterson of Coi was pictured preparing a duck breast sous vide in foie gras fat, with sauteed foie gras and hibiscus sauce. And Jardiniere, whose owner-chef Traci des Jardins famously removed foie gras from the menu years ago, quietly began serving it again: the April 5, 2009 tasting menu offered a Wolfe Ranch quail and foie gras crostini, with Murcott mandarins, smoked bacon and bok choy, and a vanilla gastrique. 

It's a good thing Antoine Magnin, of A L'Ami Louis, in Paris, is dead, because the banning of his favorite ingredient would kill him. Who knows if the anti-foie-gras forces will succeeeding in storming the beaches -- and farms -- of France?

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Meredith Brody


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