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California Capitol Tim Hearden
The California Legislature in 2004 banned the production and sale of foie gras within the state.

Ruling allows foie gras shipments into California

Lawsuits have been proceeding through the courts since the Legislature banned the production and sale of the delicacy in 2004.

A federal judge has reinstated foie gras to California menus as long as the delicacy is purchased and shipped from an out-of-state seller, a wire service reports.

U.S. District Court judge Steven V. Wilson agreed with plaintiffs, including farmers in New York and Canada and a restaurant, that the state's health code doesn't prevent the dish from being brought in from out of state, The Associated Press reports.

Lawsuits have been making their way through the courts since the Legislature in 2004 banned the sale and production of foie gras, a fatty goose or duck liver made by force-feeding the birds. The French-born dish is considered a delicacy in high-end restaurants, although most such restaurants in California had stopped serving it by the time the law took effect in 2012.

The U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year declined to consider overturning the law itself, but Wilson sympathized with out-of-state foie gras producers who said they lost nearly one-third of their total sales when the prohibition took effect, according to the AP.

The judge ruled the sale of foie gras doesn't violate the law if the seller is from outside of California and the product is brought into the state by a third-party delivery service, the AP reports.

TAGS: Regulatory
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