Representatives from restaurants in Hermosa Beach and Northridge are expected to ask a federal judge Wednesday to sign a temporary injunction halting California's recently enacted ban on the sale of foie gras, the delicacy usually prepared from the force-feeding of ducks and geese.
Hot's Restaurant Group, along with the Canadian duck-farming trade organization Association des Eleveurs de Canards et d'Oies du Quebec, and New York-based producer Hudson Valley Foie Gras contend that the statewide ban is "unconstitutional, vague and interferes with federal commerce laws."
Hot's Restaurant Group owns in Hermosa Beach.
The law banning the production and sale of foie gras—fatty duck and/or goose liver—and its byproducts went into effect July 1. Restaurants selling the gourmet item can be fined up to $1,000.
In response to the law, Hot's Kitchen is currently serving foie gras for free "on the side" of one of its dishes. If a customer doesn't want the delicacy, the price for the dish remains the same.
U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson will be asked to sign an order allowing sales of the delicacy to resume temporarily until the issue can be decided permanently.
Foie gras is usually produced through a process in which ducks or geese are force fed corn through tubes inserted in their throats, a practice seen as inhumane by animal rights activists.
Animal lovers crusaded against force feeding, persuading the Legislature in 2004 to outlaw the practice, which effectively banned the delicacy in the state.
But attorney Michael Tenenbaum insists the law is too vague because it does not detail methods to measure the point at which a bird has been illegally overfed.
Tenenbaum, who filed suit against the law two weeks ago in Los Angeles, said that because California represents such a large potential market for the item, the ban severely hurts business for foie gras producers. Along with the state, the complaint names Attorney General Kamala Harris and Gov. Jerry Brown.