French schools ban foie gras Christmas lunches

Local authorities in several areas of France have banned the traditional serving of foie gras in school canteens over Christmas.

Foie gras - fattened duck liver - will not be served in some school cantines in France over Christmas.
Foie gras - fattened duck liver - will not be served in some school cantines in France over Christmas. (Photo by GEORGES GOBET / AFP)

Many French schools have foie gras on the Christmas lunch menu. It is dished up in a variety of ways – either as a stuffing or as a spread. 

But three towns (Grenoble, Strasbourg and Villeurbanne) governed by the Green party have banned the product in school canteens and for official town-hall functions. The move comes after years of pressure from the animal rights group, PETA.

READ ALSO Do French kids get the best school lunches in the world?

Sandra Krief, a city councillor in Grenoble for the Parti Animaliste who also campaigned for the ban, tweeted that the production of foie gras was “one of the worst practices or ‘traditions’ as far as animal cruelty is concerned.”

“Foie gras is a shameful French tradition that should be abolished like bullfighting,” she continued. 

READ ALSO Meet the French Animal Party candidate running for president

France makes about two thirds of the world’s foie gras, produced by force-feeding ducks or geese until the develop the distinct ‘fatty liver’.

In an interview on Sud Radio, Marie-Pierre Pé, director of France’s Inter-professional Committee of Foie Gras makers hit back, saying the ban was “scandalous”. 

“Anyone who goes to meet producers understands that the fattening comes towards the end of the animal’s life. It totally respects the life of birds, which are there to produce this famous foie gras that the whole world is jealous of,” she said. 

“There is more and more attention being paid towards the wellbeing of the animals.” 

READ MORE French mayor’s foie gras ban prompts fury from farmers

PETA is now campaigning to have foie gras scrapped from menu at official town hall functions in other cities, including Bordeaux, Lyon, Marseille and Montpellier. 

The French delicacy has been under attack around the world for years.  The EU parliament called on member states to ban the practice of force feeding this summer – and has banned the product from official events in the Strasbourg parliament building. In the United States, California has banned the sale of foie gras produced with force feeding. The British government plans to do the same. 

Michelin-starred chef, Alexis Gauthier, has a potential solution that could reconcile animal rights activists and foie gras lovers: Faux gras – a plant based alternative. You can read the recipe HERE or watch the tutorial

READ MORE Lab-grown ‘foie gras’ cannot use product name, says French food producers group

Member comments

  1. Ms Pe says ‘the whole world is jealous of foie gras’. Not quite true since India, Australia, Israel, UK , Argentina, and Brazil have all banned its importation and many others its production. Animal cruelty is nothing to shout about.

    1. Another British tourist sticking his nose into our way of life. If you don’t want to eat it, that’s your choice but don’t tell other people, that enjoy eating it, not to.👿

        1. Who is talking about being libertarian. I’m saying keep your nose out of my countries affairs. My friends and I will keep eating foie gras for as long as we want. It’s a great shame your little island banned hunting with dogs. What’s it going for next. fly-fishing.😮

          1. Considering the best is produced on small farms, I very much doubt a blanket EU ban is going to have much of an effect.

      1. Boggy, stop taking CAP subsidies and you can have all the free choice you want. But as long as I am paying taxes to keep this ugly practice going then I get a say. In any case, if you read the article you’d know it is other French who are opposing this and other French who are saying that these (French people) have no right to do so. Marie-Pierre Pé said it clearly: she thinks it is scandalous that others get to have a choice in any decision to buy damaged duck liver. In essence she wants to force feed it down students throats. The irony of that no doubt escapes her.

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France to roll out ID cards app

Technology is being rolled out to allow people to carry their French ID cards in an app form - and could be rolled out to other cards, including driving licences and cartes de séjour residency cards.

France to roll out ID cards app

Holders of French carte d’identité (ID cards) will soon be able to carry certified digital versions of them on their smartphone or other electronic devices, a decree published in the Journal Officiel has confirmed.

An official app is being developed for holders of the newer credit card-format ID cards that have information stored on a chip. A provisional test version of the app is expected at the end of May.

Users will be able to use the ID card app, when it becomes available, for a range of services “from checking in at the airport to renting a car”, according to Thierry Breton, EU Commissioner for the Internal Market.

All French citizens have an ID card, which can be used for proving identity in a range of circumstances and for travel within the EU and Schengen zone – the new app will be in addition to the plastic card that holders already have.

Under the plans, after downloading the app, card holders will need merely to hold the card close to their phone to transfer the required information. According to officials, the holder then can decide what information is passed on – such as proof of age, or home address – according to the situation.

The government has not given any examples of situations in which the app would need to be used, but has set out the main principles and the ambition of the plan: to allow everyone to identify themselves and connect to certain public and private organisations, in particular those linked to the France Connect portal.

READ ALSO What is France Connect and how could it make your life simpler?

Cards will continue to be issued for the foreseeable future – this is merely an extension of the existing system.

Only French citizens have ID cards, but if successful the app is expected to be rolled out to include other cards, such as driving licences, cartes de séjour residency cards or even visas. A digital wallet is being developed at the European level – Member States have until September to agree what it could contain.

READ ALSO Eight smartphone apps that make life in France a bit easier