Sao Paulo bans foie gras, angering chefs

Sao Paulo bans foie gras, angering chefs
PHOTO: ST

Sao Paulo has banned production and sales of foie gras - and chefs in Brazil's largest city are fuming.

Mayor Fernando Haddad - said to like the delicacy himself - signed a decree instituting the ban, disappointing cooks who had hoped he would veto the bill passed in May by city hall.

The dish was banned on grounds of cruelty to geese that are fattened up to provide the liver that is the stuff of foie gras.

The law calls for a fine equivalent to as much as $1,900 for restaurants that flout the ban, which takes effect in 45 days.

The law was published Friday in an official gazette that records the doings of town hall.

Animal rights activists praised the prohibition.

"This is not an isolated event. There is a global trend toward greater fairness to animals," Ricardo Laurino of the Brazilian Society of Vegetarians told the newspaper O Globo.

But Renato Carioni, chef at a restaurant called Cosi, called the ban "ridiculous and hypocritical."

"Not all breeders mistreat their animals," O Globo quoted him as saying.

Carioni said he had thought Haddad would veto the bill because, he said, Haddad loves foie gras.

A month ago the Brazilian Association of Culinary Professionals started circulating a petition to press the mayor to nix the bill.

The text of the petition defended foie gras as a "cultural tool of world gastronomy."

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