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Food & Drinks

France to resume foie gras exports to Japan two years after bird flu outbreak

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 28 October, 2017, 2:21am
UPDATED : Saturday, 28 October, 2017, 2:21am

French foie gras can grace Japanese dinner tables once more, two years after Tokyo banned it following outbreaks of bird flu, French agriculture minister Stephane Travert said on Friday.

“That’s the good news of the night. Japan has allowed the re-introduction on its market of poultry, but also foie gras,” Travert told Radio Classique.

Japan is the largest importer of the delicacy, whose production involves force-feeding birds with more food than they would normally eat in the wild, massively engorging their liver.

France, which earns tens of millions of euros (dollars) a year as the top global producer of foie gras, saw exports plunge after the H5N1 virus hit in late 2015

Just as producers were recovering from that crisis a second bird flu virus, H5N8, struck a year ago.

“As of today and in line with World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) guidelines, France has recovered her status of being free of highly pathogenic bird flu,” Travert’s ministry said in confirming the way to exports was once again clear, for poultry generally and also foie gras.”

Japan was the first country to respond to the OIE ruling.