Shellfish exports to EU set to resume but dispute with France looms over 'barbaric' foie gras

Mon 19 Apr 2021
Posted by: William Barns-Graham
Trade News

foie gras

The country’s shellfish exporters could resume sending their catch to the EU after a review of British waters gave some UK fishing grounds the top rating for purity.

Fishermen were caught out at the start of the year when the European Commission said it would not accept crustaceans fished from so-called Class-B waters – which account for the vast majority of UK produce – on the grounds of ‘purity’.

Shellfish caught in Class-B waters must be purified in tanks before export.

Class A

The independent Food Standards Agency has upgraded the waters off Kent, Essex, Devon, Cornwall and Northumberland to Class A, allowing exports of cash from those seas to recommence, according to the Daily Mail.

However, the Times reports that only 11 of 266 seas have had their status upgraded, with DEFRA sources saying the dispute is far from being resolved.

Foie gras feud

UK-EU relations could be further strained by another food standards dispute over the trade of foie gras.

French trade association Comité Interprofessionnel des Palmipèdes à Foie Gras (CIFOG) has voiced anger at the UK’s possible move to restrict imports of specialty duck or goose liver product.

A cross-party group of British MPs wrote to ministers urging the government to ban sales of foie gras in the UK over the force feeding of animals, which it has described as “unbearably barbaric”, according to the Guardian.


Animal welfare minister Lord Goldsmith is said to be determined to ban sales in the UK and DEFRA is “exploring further restrictions”.

However, Marie-Pierre Pé, director of CIFOG, which represents about 3,500 foie gras producers, claims the procedure is not cruel and that critics are anthropomorphising.

She invited MPs to witness production before making a decision.