France is still the global leader in foie gras production, but this year’s output could be cut in half.
While humans have been dealing with a pandemic of their own, poultry hasn’t fared much better. Earlier this year, the USDA confirmed a bird flu outbreak in the United States with global origins traced back to 2020. At the time of that announcement, the same H5N8 virus was also spreading in France, leading foie gras producers to call for a mass culling of ducks in an attempt to avoid an outbreak like the one that devastated the industry five years earlier.
But efforts to control the virus haven’t been as effective as hoped, and now, France is reportedly facing a foie gras shortage.
The French Agriculture Ministry says the country has culled 16 million birds dating back to November and, as a result, foie gras production is expected to be cut by as much as half this year with about 80 percent of producers now dealing with bird flu nationwide, according to CNN. That also puts a dent in global supply with typically well over half of the world’s foie gras production happening in France.
“This number [of culled birds] is unprecedented for France, which had never been exposed to a crisis of such scale,” Marie-Pierre Pe, director of the French foie gras producers trade group CIFOG, told the news channel.