Another European product looks set to come off the menu after Brexit. This time, it‘s the much more controversial foie gras, which could be banned from being imported to this country — and, on that basis, served in restaurants — after Britain leaves the EU.
According to reports George Eustice, the environment minister, told parliament on Wednesday that new “restrictions on sales” may come into force post Brexit. He was answering a call from Conservative MP Henry Smith to scrap imports of foie gras — Smith called it “cruel to produce, unhealthy to eat and expensive to purchase”, and suggested that its manufacture was an “outdated practice”.
Foie gras, which translated as “fat liver”, is produced by force-feeding ducks and geese maize through a metal tube forced down their throats. Despite welfare concerns and protests, it has protected status in France as part of the country’s “gastronomical heritage”.
Although the production of foie gras has been banned in the UK since 2000, more than 100 tonnes of it were imported last year alone under EU free-market rules — much of it destined for London’s high-end restaurants, including L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, Hakkasan, Dinings SW3 and Duck & Waffle.
The tide, however, seems to be turning: Gauthier’s Alexis Gauthier spoke recently about how he used to sell 20kg of foie gras a week at his eponymous Soho restaurant before deciding to switch the focus of his menus to vegetables.