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French scientists cook up alternative foie gras, sans force-feeding

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on December 4, 2019 - Duration: 02:21s

French scientists cook up alternative foie gras, sans force-feeding

French scientists are developing a 'naturally fatty' version of Foie Gras that does not employ force-feeding geese.

Adam Reed reports

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French scientists cook up alternative foie gras, sans force-feeding

This little goose is only a couple of days old but has a promising future for lovers of French delicacy "foie gras." Foie gras, literally translated in French, is 'fatty liver'.

French scientists now are developing a 'naturally fatty' version that does not employ the traditional technique of force-feeding, in order to appeal to countries where production methods are tightly regulated.

Geese grower Valerie Fosserie is the first farmer to produce this new type of foie gras, by giving a single dose of serum containing natural bacteria to two-day-old goslings.

(SOUNDBITE) (French) GEESE FARMER PRODUCING FOIE GRAS WITHOUT FORCE-FEEDING GEESE, VALERIE FOSSERIE, SAYING: "When it comes to the animal and its well-being, it gets here when it's a day old and stays here for six months.

So there is no stress of moving locations, and then of course we remove the stress of force-feeding.

So this will change a lot of things ethically." The force-feeding of geese and ducks to fatten up their livers has led to legislation banning foie gras in countries like the United Kingdom, Finland, and Poland.

The U.S. states of California and New York have also banned sales of the delicacy.

But French researcher Remy Burcelin says geese and ducks overfeed by nature so they can store up energy during the migration season - hence their liver is naturally fatty.

Burcelin and two other scientists founded the research company Aviwell, based in southwest France, to develop the process that stimulates the build-up of fat in geese and produce naturally fat liver without having to thrust feeding tubes into their gullet.

(SOUNDBITE) (French) RESEARCHER WHO DISCOVERED PROCESS TO PRODUCE NATURALLY-FAT FOIE GRAS, REMY BURCELIN, SAYING: "This process is actually led by intestinal bacteria, by intestinal flora.

And we've discovered that it's the combination of certain bacteria, these combinations are capable of triggering in baby geese the natural programming and completely biological growth of fat in the liver, that we call naturally fatty foie gras, because it (the goose) is not force-fed." The company grew 600 geese when it launched its project last year, as it prepares to launch its foie gras on the market.

The aim is to then scale up production to between 2 and 3,000 geese by 2020.

It will also be more expensive for food lovers.

While traditional foie gras is sold for about 300 to 400 euros per kilo, the same amount of Aviwell's version could reach prices of up to 1,000 euros.

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