Sacré bleu! France facing foie gras shortage

A warning that France could run out of foie gras for Christmas has been issued for a second year in a row, with prices expected to soar, as the country continues its battle with bird flu.

Last year there was a 25% drop in production of the controversial delicacy, with production down by a further 22% this year, Marie-Pierre Pé, head of the foie gras producers umbrella group Cifog, told Le Parisien.

“Stocks of foie gras have dwindled after some producers in areas like western Nouvelle-Aquitaine and Occitanie had to stop activities for six to ten months (as a precautionary measure after culling birds affected by the H5N1 virus).”

The delicacy, made from duck or goose liver, is eaten by millions of French around Christmas and New Year. However several bouts of bird flu in recent years has forced producers to slaughter thousands of birds.

This year, foie production will reach a maximum of 11,000 tons, the equivalent of 23 million ducks, compared to 29 million in 2016, added Cifog.

Because of limited supplied, prices could rise by up to 20%.

Foie Gras production remains a hugely controversial issue for the hospitality industry, and is made from the liver of a duck or goose that has been specially fattened through force feeding – a process called gavage.

In 2015 a judge overturned a ban on the sale of foie gras in California, but it remains illegal for farmers in the state to produce it.

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