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February 10, 2009

International Journal of Food Safety, Nutrition and Public Health Article Points to Foie Gras as Public Health Risk

The Humane Society of the United States

A new article in the International Journal of Food Safety, Nutrition and Public Health further implicates foie gras as a potential public health menace.

The article, "Amyloid Fibrils: Potential Food Safety Implications," is written by Michael Greger, M.D., HSUS director of public health and animal agriculture. It explores the apparent mad cow disease-like food safety risks associated with foie gras consumption—specifically, that foie gras may trigger amyloidosis, a serious disease that can cause a multitude of serious human health problems.

The article points to research suggesting that amyloid deposits in the tissues of animals raised for food could have "tremendous food safety implications" and that foie gras should be banned for certain groups of consumers at risk for conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or Alzheimer's disease.

"Most people wouldn't want to eat any part of a diseased animal, but in the case of foie gras, it's the diseased liver itself that diners consume," stated the article's author, Dr. Greger. "When you add the animal cruelty to the potential public health risks, force-feeding animals for foie gras is just too hard to swallow."

A 2007 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences study also suggests that foie gras may trigger amyloidosis in susceptible people, which can cause extensive organ damage, kidney failure and even death.

Facts

  • Foie gras is produced by purposefully inducing a state of disease in ducks and geese by force-feeding them until their livers enlarge up to 10 times their normal size.
  • California and more than a dozen countries have taken legislative action on the issue of foie gras and cruel force-feeding practices. Even the Pope (when known as Cardinal Ratzinger) has condemned it.
  • In 2006, The HSUS and other organizations filed suit against New York State to have foie gras declared an adulterated food product.
  • A 2004 Zogby poll showed that 80 percent of Americans believe the practice of force-feeding ducks and geese for foie gras should be banned.

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization—backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 30. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty—on the web at humanesociety.org.

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