Hold on to your hats, everybody: as of right now, foie gras is once again legal in California. According to La Toque's Ken Frank, one of the chefs who led the fight to have foie gras relegalized, a court invalidated the ban on importing foie from out-of-state into California this morning. The suit was brought by a group of out-of-state foie gras producers, retailers, and importers, and a judge ruled that it was perfectly OK, right now and today, to sell foie gras imported from outside of California at restaurants within the state.
Frank, who worked with chefs like Douglas Keane and David Bazirgan in his efforts to overturn the ban, is overjoyed, and says he's currently testing dishes in the hopes of putting foie back on his menu tonight. "We're going to have one heck of a tasting this afternoon," he says, noting that the ruling will also negate a lawsuit from the Animal Legal Defense Society that he and La Toque are currently dealing with. We've reached out to the legal team involved for more information on the case, and will update this post accordingly.
Update, 4:04 pm: The office of California Attorney General Kamala Harris has not made any comment on whether they will pursue an appeal. "We are reviewing the ruling," says a rep.
Update, 1:46 pm: Here's the full judgment and brief, for all you law nerds out there. The case was filed in the U.S. District Court for California's Central District, and the plaintiffs were the Association des Eleveurs de Canards et D'Oies du Quebec, Hudson Valley Foie Gras, and L.A.-based Hot's Restaurant Group. It invalidated this California health code, saying it was trumped by the federal Poultry Products Inspections Act when it comes to regulating the sale and distribution of foie gras.
Update, 1:20 pm: The San Francisco Chronicle has confirmed that a U.S. District Court judge has revoked the law prohibiting chefs from serving foie gras.