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Wolfgang Puck bans foie gras, adds veg options, and more:

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  • Kari Nienstedt
    This is great news!!! Please take a moment to thank Wolfgang Puck at: contactus@wolfgangpuck.com . You can read more details at: http://tinyurl.com/384rwq .
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 22, 2007
      This is great news!!! Please take a moment to thank Wolfgang Puck
      at: contactus@... . You can read more details at:
      http://tinyurl.com/384rwq . Below is today's New York Times story:

      *

      http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/22/dining/22puck.html

      March 22, 2007
      Celebrity Chef Announces Strict Animal-Welfare Policy
      By KIM SEVERSON

      Wolfgang Puck, the Los Angeles chef whose culinary empire ranges from
      celebrity dinners at Spago to a line of canned soups, said yesterday
      that he would use eggs and meat only from animals raised under strict
      humane standards.

      With the announcement, Mr. Puck has joined a small group of top chefs
      around the country who refuse to serve foie gras, the fattened liver
      of ducks and geese. But Mr. Puck, working with the Humane Society of
      the United States, has taken his interest in animal welfare beyond
      ducks.

      He has directed his three companies, which together fed more than 10
      million people in 2006, to buy eggs only from chickens not confined
      to small cages. Veal and pork will come from farms where animals are
      not confined in crates, and poultry meat will be bought from farmers
      using animal welfare standards higher than those put forth by the
      nation's largest chicken and turkey producers. Mr. Puck has also
      vowed to use only seafood whose harvest does not endanger the
      environment or deplete stocks.

      "We decided about three months ago to be really much more socially
      responsible," he said in a telephone interview from Los Angeles. "We
      feel the quality of the food is better, and our conscience feels
      better."

      Many chefs at high-end restaurants, some smaller food-service chains
      and grocery chains like Whole Foods have refused to buy meat and eggs
      unless animals are raised under certain conditions. In 2000,
      McDonald's became the first American food company to impose minimum
      animal-welfare standards, like increasing cage size, on its egg
      producers. But Mr. Puck's program goes much further than most
      corporate animal-welfare policies, and he is the flashiest culinary
      name yet to join with animal rights groups in the movement to change
      farming practices.

      Mr. Puck's ventures include 14 fine-dining restaurants mostly on the
      West Coast. The flagship is Spago in Los Angeles, which helped him
      become the nation's first celebrity chef. He also runs more than 80
      Gourmet Express restaurants, many of which are in airports, and sells
      frozen pizza, soups, kitchen cookware and cookbooks. Mr. Puck
      estimated his companies' value at $360 million.

      Since 2002, at least one animal-rights activist group has tried to
      persuade Mr. Puck to stop using foie gras from ducks that are force
      fed extra amounts of grain to fatten their livers and veal from
      calves chained to small crates and fed a liquid diet to keep their
      flesh white and tender.

      The group, Farm Sanctuary, protested in front of Spago and started a
      Web site called wolfgangpuckcruelty.org, which has since been taken
      down. Mr. Puck dismissed those efforts and said he decided to make
      the change as a result of a few trips to large-scale farms,
      discussions with the Humane Society and a desire to mark his 25 years
      in the business with something more significant than the kinds of big
      parties he is used to holding for the Oscars.

      "I have been telling people we have to stand for something for the
      next 25 years," he said. "It's time for us to make a statement and a
      time for us to see how we treat what we eat."

      Mr. Puck said prices would increase only a few percentage points on
      some items.

      As many as 98 percent of eggs come from chickens kept in banks of
      small cages to facilitate mass production, said Diane Storey, a
      spokeswoman for United Egg, which represents most major egg
      producers. She and Richard Lobb, a spokesman for the National Chicken
      Council, which represents major producers of chickens for meat, said
      their groups had science-based animal welfare certification programs
      that used humane and ethical guidelines.

      "We applaud the fact that he sells a whole lot of chickens," Mr. Lobb
      said. "But we think our program is very progressive and he should
      look at ours before he goes off with the Humane Society."

      Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company
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