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L.A. Now Live: Discuss the foie gras ban with Jonathan Gold

July 12, 2012 |  6:00 am

Times food critic Jonathan Gold and Sacramento bureau reporter Michael Mishak will join City Editor Shelby Grad for a discussion about the foie gras ban -- and how a recent state law is being challenged.

The chat is scheduled for 9 a.m. and questions can be submitted live during the discussion.

On July 1, SB 1520, the bill that bans the production and sale of both foie gras and foie gras byproducts (including feathers for down jackets and comforters) went into effect. A restaurant that serves foie gras — typically produced via gavage, a process in which ducks or geese are fed through tubes inserted in their throats — can be fined up to $1,000.

North America's largest producers of foie gras have joined with a Southern California restaurateur to challenge the state's ban on the duck-liver delicacy, Mishak reported.

The foie gras producers claim that the ban is so vague that it could apply to other products from ducks who are raised primarily for foie gras, including skins, bones and feathers. They also argue that the new law violates the U.S. Constitution's commerce clause because it affects out-of-state companies.

The Presidio Social Club, located on what was a U.S. Army base, says the fact that it is on federal land exempts them from the foie gras ban.

The restaurant plans to put the item back on its menu this weekend to celebrate Bastille Day. In a press release, they called it a celebration of “two important independences this July: Bastille Day for the French and the freedom to enjoy foie gras for Californians.”

A spokeswoman for the California attorney general’s office said staff was currently looking into whether the restaurant is actually exempt from the ban.