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The Margin: A farewell to foie gras? There’s a shortage of the fatty favorite in France

Sacre bleu! There’s a foie gras shortage in France.

The fatty, unctuous treat, otherwise known as duck or goose liver, is in short supply throughout the country, according to CNN and other news outlets. The culprit: the bird-flu epidemic that has spread throughout Europe. One report says that France has culled 16 million birds, including ducks, in an effort to curb the disease. And that means far less foie gras to go around.

“This week we got none,” said French chef Pascal Lombard in an interview with CNN. Lombard is the owner of Le 1862, a Michelin-starred restaurant in southwestern France.

Of course, many animal-rights activists might welcome this news. Foie gras has long been a controversial foodstuff, since its production requires the force feeding of ducks or geese (that’s what gets their livers extra fatty). As a result, foie gras has been banned in many places throughout the world. For example, New York City has a ban that’s set to go into effect later this year.

Still, foie gras has its many fans. Marco Moreira, chef and proprietor of Tocqueville, a restaurant in New York, once told the Wall Street Journal that his customers can’t get enough of the stuff.

“Some people will have multiple courses of foie gras,” he said, calling the citywide ban “preposterous.”

Meanwhile, as France contends with the current shortage, Marie-Pierre Pé, who directs a committee of the country’s foie gras producers, told CNN that consumers should think in terms of rationing so that everyone is ensured at least a small taste.

“We have to share with each other,” she said.

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