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Foie Gras Could Get Even Pricier Thanks to Bird Flu

Exports of the French delicacy are currently banned

Statewide Foie Gras Ban Goes Into Effect Next Week In California Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Bird flu has once again reared its ugly head in France, hitting the foie gras industry hard and leaving the country facing higher prices heading into a busy holiday season. French producers had to slaughter thousands of birds to prevent further spread of the disease, according to The Guardian.

The H5N8 virus is an especially aggressive strain of avian flu, and its appearance among birds in southwestern France forced producers to act quickly in order to protect other flocks. Foie gras is a key part of the traditional Christmas Eve meal in France, as The Guardian notes, and this setback will likely influence the price of the product ahead of the holiday. Marie Pierre Pe, a spokesperson for the French foie gras industry organization Cifog, told The Guardian prices could increase by 10 percent.

When such outbreaks occur, France’s farm ministry imposes restrictions on trade and bird containment, and the country will not be cleared to trade outside the European Union for another 90 days (provided no new cases of bird flu occur before then). That means no exporting foie to the U.S. or other countries where it’s in high demand, such as Japan.

By far the world’s largest producer of foie gras, France has experienced recurring issues with bird flu as of late. Earlier this year, the country placed a temporary ban on foie gras production after an outbreak, and the industry had been looking to bounce back before this latest case hit.

While foie remains a prized delicacy that’s in especially high demand around the holidays, the process by which it is made remains a subject of much scrutiny and disapproval from animal rights groups.

Bird Flu Hits French Foie Gras Industry at Busiest Time of Year [The Guardian]
The Decade-Long Foie Gras Fight, Explained [E]
France Places Temporary Ban on Foie Gras Production [E]

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