Foie Gras Doughnuts Served in California, Ban be Damned

Though California has banned the sale of foie gras, residents of San Jose and Campbell will be eating foie gras doughnuts on Friday, June 7th.

Foie gras is made from the diseased, fatty livers cut out of young geese or ducks. The livers don’t become sick and bloated of their own accord. That requires human intervention, as in torturing the poor birds, then killing them.

I’ve described the process previously at Care2 Causes:

Foie gras producers call force-feeding “gavage,” and they start doing it when ducks are thirteen weeks old. Two to three times a day, [the Animal Legal Defense Fund] alleges, “an inflexible, unlubricated [ten-inch] tube is forcibly inserted into” the duck’s esophagus while she is restrained. The tube delivers way too much corn mash “directly into the bird’s stomach.” Every day a little more food is crammed in.

The process is painful and life-threatening. After four weeks of it, producers kill the baby birds who have survived and take out livers as much as eight times larger than normal. (What goes around comes around: foie gras causes disease, like amyloidosis, in humans.)

Force-feeding birds is illegal in Israel, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, most of Austria, and other countries.” And in California.

To protect birds’ welfare, California banned the production and sale of foie gras in 2004, effective 2012. An outfit called “Psycho Donuts” is so dedicated to the appalling “food” that it found a way around the law: giving the stuff away for free. The plan resulted from a skull session to devise an “outrageous thing we could do for National Doughnut Day,” said a chef who participated in the brain-storming.

Psycho Donuts completely wusses out from acknowledging what it is doing. Company official Jordan Zweigoron said, “our position is simply that we are Psycho Donuts, and innovating new and unique doughnuts is an inherent part of our DNA. We are not out to make any points, take any sides or make any statements,” according to local news site So much for “outrageous.”

Now the company wants to sidestep the consequences of promoting animal cruelty. Otherwise it would acknowledge that its purpose is not just to come up with new products, but to sell and profit from them. When a business gives things away it makes a statement.

This isn’t the first time a dining establishment has flouted the California ban. For instance, a Sacramento restaurant offered a $21 brioche appetizer that included seared foie gras, the New York Times reported. The ruse was that customers paid for the strawberry rhubarb puree and bacon chip, while the foie gras was “complimentary.” The Times called the restaurant’s owner and chef “publicly defiant” — which Psycho Donuts is too, though it tries to cover up with mealy-mouthed denials.

Psycho Donuts isn’t alone in its cowardice. Some restaurants serve foie gras, but only to diners who know a secret code word. Those lucky enough to be in Los Angeles County are helped along by officials who announce publicly that “with budget cuts and our department being so short-staffed, enforcement is not something we can add to our plate right now.” It’s open season for scoff-laws.

The birds Californians are eating aren’t tortured in that state, but that makes little difference to the victims. California needs to find a way to stop businesses from making a mockery of its law.

Related: “Duckeasies” Sprout Up, Defying California’s Foie Gras Ban


Photo credit: Purestock/Thinkstock

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Angela L.
angela l.2 years ago

People always find ways of doing evil when the law ban certain things, therefore, my conclusiion is humans were basically born selfish and evil. These people think they can get away with crime but not KARMA.

Carrie-Anne Brown

sad news but thanks for sharing

Waheeda S.
Waheeda S.2 years ago

How on earth are these restaurants getting away with flouting the law?
Shame on them!

Mark Donners
Mark Donners2 years ago

These "chefs" are simply criminals. They belong in jail with their so called "customers" not in a restaurant.

Claudia Cavallo
Claudia Cavallo2 years ago

no words

David V.
David V.2 years ago

Linda P. I couldn't have said it better myself.........

John B.
John B.2 years ago

Thanks Piper for the article and many links.

Sue Matheson
Sue Matheson2 years ago

good grief

Colleen W.
Colleen W.2 years ago

arrest anyone who wants it for free

Linda P.
Linda P.2 years ago

Foie Gras has been banned in California, I guess San Jose and Campbell don't have to follow the law. This needs to be stopped , this is so inhumane what is done to these ducks and geese. People claim it is humane , lets try it on them and see what they think. Hope you choke on your donuts.