California foie gras law faces test

July 11, 2012 at 2:21 PM
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SAN FRANCISCO, July 11 (UPI) -- Whether foie gras, a meat newly banned in California, can be sold on federal land in San Francisco is about to be tested, a restaurant owner says.

Foie gras is pate made from goose liver, and a California law that went into effect July 1 bans it and the sale of other products made from force-fed birds, but Ray Tang, owner of the Presidio Social Club in the Presidio of San Francisco, a national park, announced his restaurant is exempt from state law and will offer foie gras sliders beginning this weekend.

Tang claims he is not attempting to subvert state law, merely exercising an exemption for federal property.

"I don't go through the California Alcoholic Beverage Control or even have a California liquor license. We even have our own federal health inspector and are not required to go through local or state health departments."

The plan to serve foie gras has ignited a controversy in the state, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Wednesday.

Jonathan Lovvorn, chief counsel of the Humane Society of the United States, called the decision "a pitiful public relations stunt," adding "I don't think the federal government wants people to think national parks are where you go to circumvent state laws."

Lynda Gledhill, spokeswoman of the California attorney general's office, said the office hadn't yet reviewed "all the variables" of whether a restaurant with a federal address is exempt from the new state law.

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