Foie gras sales are currently allowed in the state as California’s ban awaits the next step in what has been a drawn-out legal battle.

By Mike Pomranz
Updated December 10, 2018
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Credit: Matteo Colombo/Getty Images

Not that foie gras isn't a hot-button issue almost everywhere, but the fatty duck liver has been especially contentious in California where an ongoing legal battle has seen the sale of the controversial item repeatedly banned and reversed as different courts weigh in with different opinions. But though foie gras is currently legal for sale in California after the ban was once again put on hold while opponents wait to see if the Supreme Court will take up the case (I said it was contentious!), your ability to buy the product online in just got a bit narrower: Amazon has agreed not to sell foie gras in the state for at least the next five years.

Amazon's move to stop selling foie gras for the next half decade comes after the online shopping giant went through a bit of legal wrangling of its own. Despite the on-again, off-again nature of California's ban which was first enacted in 2004, prosecutors alleged that Amazon continued selling the product during one of those on-again periods, thus violating state law. Last Friday, it was announced that Amazon had decided to settle on the case, with a judge approving the terms the day before. As a result, Amazon agreed to stop selling foie gras in California for five years and to not only have a published policy prohibiting its third-party sellers from doing the same, but also to actively seek out violators of this policy, according to the Associated Press. The online retailer also reportedly agreed to pay $100,000 in civil penalties.

In Amazon's defense, prosecutors did state that, upon notification of the illegal sales — which took place several years ago — Amazon did take steps to try to stop the sales at the time. Still, seeing as California isn't positive to what extent its foie gras ban will hold up under further judicial review, assuring the fact that a major player like Amazon is out of the foie gras game until at least 2014 certainly seems like a way for the state to reaffirm its commitment to the policy.