PETA has announced plans to sue Hot's Kitchen for violating California's recently imposed ban on the production and sale of foie gras. The ban on foie gras has proven difficult to enforce as the wording has been called vague and local law enforcement seem reluctant to dive into duck liver policing.
Hot's Kitchen dodge around the law appears to be in not "selling" foie gras so much as offering it as a "complimentary side." Their menu indicates that anyone looking to eat foie gras just has to order "THE" Burger to receive their "free" foie gras.
Hot's Kitchen is not the only restaurant to defy the ban although it appears to be the first to draw the direct ire of PETA. Restaurants and industry groups have already lodged federal lawsuits in response to the ban claiming variously that it is poorly written or violates their constitutional rights.
Looking at historical examples it seems that there is a good chance that the California legislation will not be strictly enforced. Like the Chicago law, the California law does not prohibit the possession or consumption or foie gras, merely its production and sale. That said there was a high profile case in Chicago that resulted in an arrest, a $250 fine and the confiscation of 30 pounds of foie gras. In the case of the California law the fine could run up to $1000.
Hot's Kitchen appears unfazed by PETA's threats as their spokesperson noted that PETA has yet to actually serve them the suit.
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