Seven years since foie gras producers have seen crises, including four episodes of avian flu, but this time it’s worse. 17 million poultry have been slaughtered over the past year. Production collapsed: – 30 to 35% on average in France.
But this average cache leads to more difficult situations than others. “For us, it’s a catastrophic year”, confides Patrice Marcelli, president of the association Foie gras du Périgord. The Dordogne is indeed particularly affected. “We end up with a production of less than 60% for the end of the year. It’s really the rather dark scenario.”
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“The risk is not serving all our customers as we would likehe details. The distributors on the costs, it will be a little complicated at the end of the year. For restaurateurs, putting a product on their menu is more and more expensive. Of course, we live on a little canned stock, but that’s not enough to meet the demand as we had in years past.” Ordinarily, France produces 16,000 tons of foie gras. It will probably be barely 11,000 this year.
Especially since production costs soar by 20 to 30%. Cereals, gas, electricity… Even jars and tins cost more! So, for consumers too, the bill will be higher, according to Sophie Huppert, engineer for Cifog, the foie gras interprofession: “In the calculations we made with the brands, we are at between €0.50 and €0.80 increase in the slice. And a slice is 40 grams.” The big brands will therefore use tricks to stay contained on the shelves, in particular by using smaller containers.
Production is not expected to return to normal for at least a year. And anyway, the number of animals will gradually drop by 20% to reduce contamination. “Faced with this epidemic, we are experimenting with a vaccine. It is a glimmer of hope for next year”says Marie-Pierre Pé, director of the interprofession. “The regulations must be adjusted at European level. But we are hopeful on the subject.”
To fight against this price increase and ensure supplies, some thought they could import foie gras from Hungarian and Bulgarian competitors. But they too are affected by this episode of avian flu.
Avian flu: alert on foie gras for the end of the year Report by Sophie Auvigne