Foie Gras Burgers on Wendy’s Menu in Japan

A ban on foie gras is due to become law in a few months in California. Chefs and those who are fans of eating fattened goose or duck livers will have to get their forks on it clandestinely (violators of the law will face fines of up to $1,000 a day) or travel beyond the state’s borders. For a fast fast-food foie gras fix, they could go all the way to Japan. The #3 burger chain in the US, Wendy’s, has announced that it will be adding foie gras and truffles to its burgers (and a “red wine demi-glace reduction”) as part of a $200 million reinvestment in Japan, after shutting its doors there in 2009 due to declining profits.

Bloomberg reports that the Premium sandwich (pictured on the Huffington Post) sells for 1,280 yen ($16) at Wendy’s in the Omotesando luxury shopping district in Tokyo. The decision to add the fancified foie gras burger is part of Wendy’s strategy to expand outside the US (where it received 92 percent of its revenue in 2010). The Dublin, Ohio, based Wendy’s hopes eventually to open 700 restaurants in Japan; the foie gras burger is the company’s attempt to differentiate itself from the competition. Ernest Higa, chief executive officer of Wendy’s Japan LLC, is quoted as saying that “‘We think the fast-food market here is ready for something different.’”

McDonald’s has 3,300 restaurants in Japan, which is the world’s second-largest fast-food market, and Wendy’s executives admit they are trying to carve out a niche in a highly competitive environment. Another challenge is Japan’s less than rosy economic outlook  after a brief economic rebound following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Higa emphasizes that being “‘unique and exciting’” is necessary.

But in a year when 99 percent took to the streets and occupied public spaces, serving up burgers with “luxury “ingredients seems a step — or rather several steps — in the wrong direction. Even more, foie gras, to the dismay of many a French cuisine-loving chef, has become a controversial food associated (in the US, at least) with animal cruelty. Wendy’s decision to serve fattened goose or duck liver burgers — the birds are specially fattened by being force-fed — shows that it is seeking out a “niche” it may very likely  regret setting its sights on.


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Photo by gruntzooki

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Taylor Story
Taylor Storyabout a year ago

Shame on Wendy's, foie gras is a cruel and vile "food", and the process to get it is horrendous. These birds don't deserve this fate. Ugh. Makes me sick.

Duane B.
.2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Dandelion G.
Dandelion G.3 years ago

To produce "foie gras" (which literally means "fatty liver"), workers ram pipes down male ducks' or geese's throats two or three times daily and pump as much as 4 pounds of grain and fat into the animals' stomachs, causing their livers to bloat to up to 10 times their normal size. Many birds have difficulty standing because of their engorged livers, and they may tear out their own feathers and cannibalize each other out of stress.

The birds are kept in tiny wire cages or packed into sheds. On some farms, a single worker may be expected to force-feed 500 birds three times each day. Because of this rush, animals are often treated roughly and left injured and suffering.

Shame on Wendy's.....write to Corporate Headquarters.
The Wendy's Company
One Dave Thomas Boulevard
Dublin, Ohio 43017

Breanna R.
Breanna R.3 years ago

LOL Virginia!
oxymoron ≠ moron!


Virginia G.

People who cook this farm with these ducks etc., people who cook this stuff, people who buy this stuff are absolutely disgusting creatures. Definitely there is not a god because unless he was totally stupid, he would not have created such oxymorons!

OmegaForPrez now
OmegaForPrez now3 years ago

I don't know about a foie gras burger. I know that a few years ago when I was in Japan I did try the chicken teriyaki sandwich at McDonalds. They are willing to do anything for money. Although, if the people in Japan don't like it, then they should say something. Different rules, different culture. Heck, when I was in Japan they had a 5 story tall building selling only porn, in the middle of downtown Tokyo. Inside was a whole floor of the building selling used panties which belonged to little girls or at least women who looked like little girls. In the US that is disgusting but in Japan it is normal. Also, don't forget that in the US we sell guinea pigs as pets and in Peru they are sold as lifestock for food.

lis Gunn
lis Gunn3 years ago

Wendy's is an American company!!! Profit and greed seems to speak louder than social and corporate responsibility. If the company had any decency, it would not even venture into animal cruelty anywhere, not even in Japan where "scientific" research whaling is government sponsored and whale meat is available for human consumption (also watch The Cove for the disgusting dolphin kill).

Is this another example of US companies outsourcing to maximise profits? To everyone, worldwide, hit Wendy's where it hurts. Just don't support them.

SeattleAnn S.
Ann S.3 years ago

Wendy's is absolutely the worst of the top three largest burger chains (along with McD and BK, I believe these to be the major three in the USA). They appear to be trying to promote as much inhumane treatment of animals as they can. Case in point, does anyone else remember who refused to agree to not buy chicken from the sources caught terribly tormenting and abusing the chickens? Well, I remember KFC and Wendy's - always infamous Wendy's on all the wrong lists. I already banned them after the chicken incident, so I hope more people realize what a terrible organization they are and that their stock falls through the floor so we can finally be rid of nasty, evil Wendy's.

Beatrice Seifert
Beatrice Seifert3 years ago

Can we start a petition for them to refrain from going through with this?

Cheryl B.
Cheryl B.3 years ago

Wendy's will be sorry ... hopefully enough animals lovers will boycott them