California foodies craving fattened duck liver can now chow down. Yesterday, a judge overturned a state law banning the sale of foie gras, noting it interferes with a federal law regulating poultry products. The ban, in place since 2012, had been hailed a victory for animal rights activists as ducks and geese are force-fed corn to enlarge the liver. Now, chefs are celebrating "culinary freedom." One tells the Los Angeles Times he immediately shipped foie gras from New York to his restaurant in Hermosa Beach so it could be featured on his menu, saying it's "going to be a little bit of a foie gras extravaganza." Another compared the lifting of the ban to the end of Prohibition. Indeed, "Duckeasies" offering free foie gras in protest are now unnecessary, Reuters reports.
Restaurants and producers, who claimed to have missed out on millions in lost sales, argued the California law was illegal since the Poultry Products Inspection Act gives the federal government the authority to decide poultry ingredients. In siding with the eateries, the judge wrote, "California cannot regulate foie gras products' ingredients by creatively phrasing its law in terms of the manner in which those ingredients were produced." Animal rights groups, including the Animal Legal Defense Fund and the Humane Society, promise to appeal the decision, with the Farm Sanctuary calling foie gras "a product of egregious cruelty to animals," the San Jose Mercury News reports. (Read more foie gras stories.)