Foie Gras has become an increasingly contentious issue, especially with animal rights campaigners. An alternative to pâté foie gras, made without force feeding birds, is being launched in the UK just in time for Christmas.
The product is called Faux Gras and on the packaging it is boldly labelled, "Not foie gras".
The pâté is made from about 50% birds' liver blended with goose or duck fat to produce a creamy texture similar to traditional foie gras. It has a darker colour and the flavour is slightly different because of the different production methods.
Connoisseurs may balk at the darker colour and lighter flavour but it is a good mimic of traditional foie gras.
The timing of the new product coincides with a new campaign from the People's Campaign for the Ethical Treatment of Animals to persuade stores to stop selling foie gras.
The Faux Gras has been developed by Waitrose, which has bought a trade-mark for the Faux Gras range. It is convinced that consumers will enjoy the taste without any feelings of guilt. It has the backing of the animal charity RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) which says the faux gras was created with welfare in mind.
Waitrose stopped selling French foie gras six years ago because it was not happy with animal welfare standards. Its alternative is described as an indulgent pâté made from free-range birds reared in Britain without force feeding.
David Stone, a buyer for the chain, told The Times: "We think this is as near to authentic foie gras as we can get without the cruelty. Waitrose does not sell traditional foie gras because it just isn't consistent with our high standards of animal welfare."
There are already bans against foie gras in place in Germany, Israel, Norway and Poland. While the production of foie gras in Britain is banned imports are allowed.