A Federal Enclave Emerges to Protect the Endangered Foie Gras

Thursday, July 12, 2012


A week ago, critics of the embattled San Onofre nuclear power plant were exasperated to find that it received special protection from whistle-blowers because it sat on federal property and was not subject to certain state laws.

The plant, shut down amid a scandal over decaying tubes carrying radioactive steam, has a long record of insiders trying to bring complaints about its operation.

Now a restaurant is trying to dodge a new, week-old state law banning foie gras, a delicacy that relies on the force-feeding of ducks and geese to plump up their livers, by claiming that its location on federally-owned land in the Presidio National Park gives it a special exemption.

Presidio Social Club owner Ray Tang told the Huffington Post, “We're not trying to start a riot or exploit any loopholes. We're just wanted to let our customers know that this is an option.”    

It remains to be seen if anyone will follow Tang’s legal loophole trail blazing, but it has piqued the interest of Rob Black of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, who said other businesses on federal land and Indian tribal lands will be taking a hard look at the issue.  

For now, you can get a foie gras slider with a Sauternes cocktail chaser for $20 at the Presidio Social Club. But it’s not the only place around you can order your favorite banned food while legal challenges to the ban are mounted.

The day after the law took effect, Café Mimosa in San Clemente threw a foie gras party and made it the centerpiece of six dishes plus desert, wrapped in cotton candy on a stick.

The evening’s menu was titled: “Foie You.”

—Ken Broder


To Learn More:

Presidio Social Club Foie Gras Exemption: San Francisco Restaurant Claims It Can Serve Foie (by Robin Wilkey, Huffington Post)

What Ban? Diners Have Their Foie Gras and Eat It, Too (by Fred Swegles, Orange County Register)

Six Weeks Left to Stuff Yourself Before Foie Gras Ban Takes Effect (by Ken Broder, AllGov)

San Onofre Has Lousy Safety Record, but Is Protected from Whistle-Blowers  (by Ken Broder, AllGov)

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