Agriculture Minister David Heath has urged consumers not to buy foie gras because of the inhumane method of producing it.
Food producers are banned from force-feeding geese or ducks to make the luxury product in the UK, but the product is still available from fine food specialists and in restaurants.
“What I would say, and I am expressing a personal view here, is that people shouldn’t buy foie gras because of the method of production,” Mr Heath said.
Mr Heath, who assumed the role of Farming Minister in the summer reshuffle, told the Commons he was “far from convinced” there was an alternative humane method of production and consumers should think about what they chose to purchase.
Speaking during a Commons debate on animal welfare, the Liberal Democrat minister, who represents Somerton and Frome, said: “I think it is up to people to make their own decision about what they choose to buy. But I have to say unless there is a humane way of producing it – I am far from convinced there is – then they should make that decision when they decide what to put into their shopping trolley – I suspect foie gras is very rarely put into a shopping trolley – but what they ask people to provide for them.”
Mr Heath added: “We have taken a view in this country it is a legal import and therefore there is no constraint that we can place in the way of importation, but we can ask people to think very carefully about what they buy.”
He was responding to a question from Labour’s Chris Williamson who asked him to prevent the “cruel practice which takes place on the continent