LOS ANGELES – Amazon has agreed not to sell foie gras in California from birds that have been force-fed and will pay civil penalties, investigative costs and restitution as part of a lawsuit settlement, a prosecutor said Friday.
The suit filed by prosecutors in Los Angeles, Monterey and Santa Clara counties accused the giant retailer of violating a 2004 state law banning sales of the fatty duck and goose liver delicacy if it was produced by force-feeding birds.
A judge approved the settlement on Thursday between Amazon and the three prosecutors, Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said.
Under the deal, Amazon also agreed to pay $100,000 in civil penalties and other costs, Lacey said.
A spokeswoman for Amazon said the company was not commenting.
The prosecutors accused Amazon of illegally selling foie gras in California on its website. Lacey and Monterey County District Attorney Dean D. Flippo acknowledged Amazon took steps to stop those sales after it was contacted by prosecutors.
Making foie gras involves feeding ducks and geese through a tube to enlarge their livers – a process that animal rights activists said is painful and cruel.
A U.S. court blocked the ban in 2015, delighting chefs who wanted to serve the delicacy and leading to protests by animal rights groups.
But an appeals court ruled last year the ban was not pre-empted by federal authority to regulate poultry products and said California was free to enforce it.
Foie gras farmers in Canada and New York and a restaurant group based in California have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the case.
The high court has not yet decided whether to do so.