Fortnums defends sale of foie gras


Kate and Camilla in Fortnum & MasonPaul Grover/PA Archive/Press Association Images

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), backed by Sir Roger Moore, have been campaigning to have foie gras removed from the shelves of Fortnum & Mason. A similar campaign persuaded Sefridges to stop stocking it in 2009, but Fortnums is adamant that it will not budge.

So why has this row erupted, and what's wrong with foie gras?

The campaign

PETA has been targeting Fortnum & Mason with a campaign to persuade them to take foie gras off the shelves. The high-profile involvement of Sir Roger Moore has helped garner publicity for the pressure group, which has issued a video showing footage of animals being force fed, with some highly distressing images.

The product's name literally translates as 'fatty liver'. It is produced by over-feeding ducks or geese, so that their livers swell to many times their normal size. The practice of producing it has been banned in the UK over animal welfare concerns. PETA wants to see its sale banned in the UK too.

It has had some success, and in 2009 persuaded Selfridges to take the product off the shelves. Over the years it has periodically targeted Fortnum & Masons too, but has met robust resistance.


Fortnum & Masons has met the campaign head-on. A spokeswoman pointed out to AOL that: "We will continue to stock foie gras because our customers ask for it. Fortnum & Mason is a stockist of artisan, traditional foods, so we sell a number of products that you may not find elsewhere. People come to us specifically for this sort of thing."

She added that far from being put off by the campaign: "In the last two weeks we have seen demand for it increase 60%."

She said that Fortnums works closely with its suppliers: "We have a gold standard for food production and we work to ensure that production meets these standards." The shop has pointed out that geese reared for their livers for the shop have access to fresh water and good air circulation around the farms. It added that the footage in the video was not taken from the farms producing foie gras for the store.

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