Thursday, March 22, 2007
IT'S OFFICIAL: PUCK BANS FOIE GRAS
For THE celebrity chef of California, this development was almost inevitable.
Wolfgang Puck announced yesterday that his dining empire would be eliminating force-fed Foie Gras, along with several other foodstuffs that are raised through what he says are cruel methods. Needless to say the Austrian chef made this decision with the help of the unbiased research team at Farm Sanctuary along with The Humane Society of the United States - at least that's what their press release claims.
The activist groups say they've been putting pressure on Puck for over five years to take these steps, and FoieBlog will continue to be skeptical about the timing of Puck's implementation - just weeks after a Hepatitis scare at the Puck-catered Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition release party. That PR nightmare turned into such a big deal that several California legislators have proposed requiring food service workers to be vaccinated against the disease as a requirement for employment. Yep, sounds like California.
FoieBlog also notes that Puck has always touted his hands-on approach to dealing with suppliers and vendors and wonders how much of the cruel ingredients he was using anyway. One thing he was certainly not serving was inhumanely produced Foie Gras. His supplier was Hudson Valley Farms, who's production methods have passed muster with all regulatory agencies and journalists who've seen the farm first hand. Unfortunately, chefs like Puck only seem to hear from extreme activists like Farm Sanctuary, and only get one side of the story. Until they hear from the people who actually pay their bills they will continue to kowtow to the activists' demands in order to avoid the hassle of being protested. FoieBlog encourages Puck to take a trip to New York and check out the operation at Hudson Valley Farms for himself, rather than listen to third-hand information from Farm Sanctuary.
Unlike other food industries like battery-raised chickens and farms that still use confining crates to raise veal, one thing about the Foie Gras business is that there are so few producers of the product in the United States that it's very easy to know who's doing a good job of taking care of their animals. Business that do should be supported and held up as examples of good citizens, not blindly grouped in with the bad guys.
FoieBlog hopes Puck's customers will convince him to reconsider his decision, but with the 2012 ban on Foie Gras looming in California it's doubtful that he will. That being the case, FoieBlog suggests that Puck takes a look at Schiltz Goose Farm's Natural Fatty Goose Liver. I'm sure his customers would appreciate it.