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MP urges action on sale of foie gras from Fortnum & Mason

The Queen on a visit to Fortnum and Mason with the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duchess of Cambridge earlier this year. File picture: Paul Grover/PA Wire The Queen on a visit to Fortnum and Mason with the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duchess of Cambridge earlier this year. File picture: Paul Grover/PA Wire

Wednesday, November 28, 2012
5:36 PM

The Queen and the Prince of Wales have been urged to take away Fortnum & Mason’s Royal Warrants because it sells foie gras.

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Caroline Lucas MP has written to The Queen and Prince Charles. File picture: PA WireCaroline Lucas MP has written to The Queen and Prince Charles. File picture: PA Wire

The London store has been accused of touting the prestigious awards while “improperly” promoting the luxury food to its customers.

Green MP Caroline Lucas pointed to an investigation by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) pressure group earlier this year that allegedly uncovered cruelty to geese at one of the store’s French suppliers - claims Fortnum’s said at the time it would investigate.

Fortnum’s website states its foie gras is “produced by just two farms carefully selected for their excellent welfare standards”.

Ms Lucas has written to the Lord Chamberlain calling for the two warrants the prestigious store holds not to be renewed.

She wrote: “Fortnum & Mason trades on its Englishness. It touts the Royal Warrants awarded to them. Its CSR (corporate social responsibility policy) talks of the store’s high ethics and morals, particularly with regard to food production techniques and animal welfare.

“It states ‘across everything Fortnum & Mason is and does runs its English character’.

“I am appalled that the mistreatment of geese and the sale of foie gras should be associated in any way with the essence of Englishness.”

Foie gras force-feeding is outlawed in the UK, but the product is still available from fine food specialists and in restaurants.

Fortnum & Mason was granted a Royal Warrant by the Queen in 1955 with a second awarded by the Prince of Wales in 1996.

Royal Warrants last for five years and are reviewed by the Lord Chamberlain’s Committee after four to assess whether they will be renewed but the royal household has the final say over which companies get the prestigious mark of recognition.

Ms Lucas added: “It is totally inappropriate for a Royal Warrant holder to sell a product that is illegal to produce in this country on cruelty-to-animals grounds and for them to promote the product within a framework that claims the highest animal welfare standards in the face of video documentation that belies that claim.”

A spokesman replied: “Fortnum and Mason is a traditional retailer who over the centuries has established a strong reputation for supplying certain traditional foods, amongst which is foie gras.

“As a retailer we are here to provide our customers with the products they ask for, including foie gras, and we respect their right to buy and enjoy the foods they like.

“However we uphold strict guidelines relating to the making of foie gras and work to the best of our abilities to ensure that these gold standard production requirements are upheld at all times by the suppliers we use.”

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