Animal Legal Defense Fund Sues New York State Agricultural Department, Leading Foie Gras Producers For Allowing Sale Of Diseased FoodPosted on September 25, 2012
Lawsuit Targets Failure to Declare Potential Health Risks of Products from Force-Fed Ducks and Geese
For immediate release
ALBANY, N.Y. – This morning, the national non-profit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) filed a complaint against the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets (“the Department”) for violating New York’s Agriculture and Markets Law by allowing the ongoing sale of foie gras in the state of New York. Foie gras prodcuers Hudson Valley Foie Gras, Bella Poultry, and La Belle Farm are also named in the complaint for their complicit reliance upon the Department’s violation of the law. This law requires “the product of a diseased animal” to be declared an adulterated food product. The complaint demonstrates that the failure of the Department to declare foie gras an wholesome food has resulted in the slaughter of hundreds of thousands (and possibly millions) of diseased birds, whose organs are then distributed into the human food supply. Jonathan G. Schopf with the Vincelette Law Firm in Albany is pro bono counsel in the case.
ALDF is asking the court to compel the Department to prohibit the distribution of foie gras, which is the pathologically diseased liver of force-fed ducks and geese. The force-feeding process causes the livers of the birds to swell to over ten times their normal size and induces a liver disease known as hepatic lipidosis.
California has already passed a ban on the production and sale of foie gras, which went into effect on July 1, 2012; over a dozen countries have a similar ban. In addition to the animal cruelty concerns that inspired these laws, there are serious health concerns over human consumption of the diseased product. Studies show that consuming foie gras has been linked to a fatal disease called secondary amyloidosis.
“When the Department fails to condemn diseased poultry products, they are failing to comply with Agriculture and Markets Law section 200,” says Stephen Wells, executive director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund. “Countless birds are suffering because of the state of New York’s negligence. The state might not have a humane law like California, but it should at least be able to follow its own food safety law.”