Investors Bet on Foie Gras Grown From Cells in a Lab

Gourmey, a start-up based in Paris, received an additional $10 million in seed funding this week. The company hopes to find a market in the United States amid growing concerns about animal cruelty.


By Jenny Gross, The New York Times (NY)

July 17, 2021


Can foie gras grown in a lab taste just as decadent and creamy as that made from farm-raised ducks or geese?


This week, a start-up company based in Paris called Gourmey raised an additional $10 million in funding from investors who are betting that it might.


The push to make foie gras, the fattened liver of a duck or goose, in a lab comes amid a push to find a sustainable, ethical alternative to meat raised for slaughter. Most foie gras is made by force-feeding ducks and geese through a tube to engorge their livers up to 10 times their normal sizes. The process can leave ducks too big to walk or breathe, according to animal activists.


In 2019, the New York City Council passed legislation that would ban the sale of foie gras in the city, one of the largest markets in the United States, starting next year, joining California.


Countries including Britain, Finland, Israel and Norway have also banned the production of foie gras, and Britain’s food and safety department said in March that it was exploring further restrictions it could introduce to address welfare concerns surrounding the production of foie gras.


The European Parliament last month called for a ban on force-feeding ducks and geese for foie gras.


With growing opposition to foie gras because of animal cruelty concerns, Nicolas Morin-Forest, Gourmey’s co-founder and chief executive, said that producing the delicacy from cultivated cells was a way to preserve a centuries-old French culinary tradition...


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