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(US-nj) Foie gras supplier worries business could fold with proposed ban

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    NEWARK, N.J. -- Some of the choicest delicacies found in American restaurants sit amid 40,000 square feet of refrigerated space near downtown Newark. Crates of
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 1, 2006
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      NEWARK, N.J. -- Some of the choicest delicacies found in American
      restaurants sit amid 40,000 square feet of refrigerated space near
      downtown Newark.

      Crates of wild mushrooms _ shiitake, morel and porcini _ will leave
      the warehouse of D'Artagnan, a supplier and distributor of high-end
      food products, to end up in many of the country's top kitchens and
      retail stores.

      The company's vast warehouse, kept at 32 degrees, stores quail from
      Griggstown, N.J.; free-range organic chicken from Mennonite farmers in
      Bucks County, Penn.; and Berkshire pork from the Ozark mountains.
      Other shelves are stacked with packages of duck confit, truffle butter
      and terrines of foie gras, a controversial fowl liver product that
      accounted for 30 percent of D'Artagnan's annual $45 million in sales
      last year.

      "My job is to feed people the best products possible," said Ariane
      Daguin, the company's co-founder and chief executive officer, in her
      thick, French accent.

      Her customers are a "who's who" of the high-end food industry. "She
      has given the U.S. gourmet foods market equal doses of education and
      pleasure when it comes to fine foods," said chef Daniel Boulud in an
      e-mail.

      D'Artagnan, founded in 1985, was poised to continue growing _ sales
      were up 12 percent from the last year _ and Daguin had predicted a 15
      percent stride in sales this year. But the business is now threatened
      with a proposed state bill, to be introduced this week, that would
      prohibit the sale and distribution in the state of foie gras, the
      fattened fowl livers.

      The bill could be the worst news for D'Artagnan since a listeria scare
      in 1999 forced a voluntary recall of thousands of pounds of pate-like
      mousse. The company rebounded and has grown with retail sales. But
      Daguin worries the squawking over foie gras could put her and 120
      employees out of business.

      "This is totally devastating news," said Daguin, 46, who is the
      seventh generation in her family to work in the food restaurant
      business. Her father, Andre, retired as chef of a Michelin two-star
      restaurant. She learned about foie gras as a toddler.

      French for "fat liver," foie gras is a pate-like spread made by
      force-feeding geese and ducks to expand their livers up to 10 times
      their normal size.
      ...
      A New Jersey law proposed last month would "prohibit the force feeding
      of ducks, geese and other poultry for the production of foie gras."

      Assemblyman Michael Panter, D-Monmouth, plans to introduce a second
      bill this week to ban the distribution and sale of foie gras, since it
      is not produced in New Jersey.

      "I'm not naive to the effects it will have on business," said Panter,
      a vegetarian. "I think that the practices in place to produce foie
      gras are inhumane by any standard."

      --
      full story:
      http://www.newsday.com/news/local/wire/newjersey/ny-bc-nj--foiegrasban1001oct01,0,357814.story?coll=ny-region-apnewjersey

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