The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) has filed a lawsuit against
the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) alleging a violation of the
Administrative Procedure Act (APA) based on USDA’s lack of response
to ALDF’s 2011 rulemaking petition requesting mandatory labeling on
foie gras produced through the forced feeding of ducks or geese. Animal
Legal Def. Fund v. U.S. Dep’t of Agric., No. 15-5063 (N.D. Cal., San
Francisco Div., filed November 5, 2015).

ALDF argues that force-fed foie gras products are mislabeled because
USDA certifies them as “[i]nspected for wholesomeness” despite the fact
that force-feeding “induces a metabolic disease and commonly results in
the onset of all of the conditions mentioned in [USDA’s Poultry Products
Inspection Act].” The organization seeks a declaration that USDA has
violated the APA and an injunction compelling the agency to substantively
respond to the petition.

“The USDA is responsible for ensuring that all poultry products that
enter the food supply are from healthy animals,” ALDF Executive
Director Stephen Wells said in a November 5, 2015, press release.
“Despite the diseased origins of foie gras and the threat it poses to human
health, the agency allows foie gras products to carry its official mark
of inspection, which misleads consumers into thinking that they have
been inspected for wholesomeness. This violates the Poultry Products
Inspection Act.” More information about ongoing litigation concerning
California’s overturned ban on foie gras appears in Issue 554 of this


Issue 584

About The Author

For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.