Noël: While the avian flu threatens, will the French be able to serve foie gras during the holidays?

At the leading producer (France) and the world’s leading consumer (again France), terrines, preserves, tea towels or cutlets of foie gras will once again be taken assault in supermarkets and grocery stores for the end of the year . Problem: the avian flu , which had already affected poultry farms – including ducks – in November 2020 to April 2021, is back.

Since November 5, animals have been re-confined across the country, in order to limit the spread of the virus after the announcement of confirmed cases in the north. From there to fear a shortage, and therefore a rise in prices? 20 Minutes takes stock.

Unsold stock

The Foie gras comes in many forms and storage times vary. “Processed foie gras, in a jar or in a can, can be kept for years,” explains Marie-Pierre Pé, director of the Interprofessional Committee for Foie Gras Palmipeds (Cifog). Why talk about conservation? Because the closure of restaurants during confinements , between 2020 and 2020, allowed producers to accumulate unsold products. “There is no shadow on the board concerning the stock of foie gras in jars or canned in stores”, assures Marie-Pierre Pé.

Julie *, saleswoman at the Comtesse du Barry delicatessen in Rouen, certainly evokes “a shortage of stock from May to September on fresh products”, in other words half-cooked livers. “But we are ready for the holidays”, she assures.

“For raw foie gras, there will be a tension on prices ”

If there is therefore no concern over stocks of processed products, there should not be any on their price. Hubert Garer, breeder and producer of foie gras on a farm in Lot-et-Garonne, confirms that prices will not increase in his shop by the end of the year. But he will be forced to inflate them with 2022. “Prices are rising everywhere: energy, raw materials … We breeders pay more for the corn and wheat which are used to force-feed our ducks, so we will have to increase a little.” As for Julie, she indicates that the prices of her prepared foie gras “have been stable for several years”.

Nevertheless, there may be a slight pressure on the price of fresh (raw) foie gras. “For consumers who prepare their terrine, like every year, there will be a little tension,” continues Marie-Pierre Pé. Because strong demand automatically generates a price increase “of about %”, according to the director. However, the populations of ducks in farms have decreased following containment measures, and production has therefore decreased. “We will surely go from 10 to 10% ”, she specifies to 12 Minutes.

The incomprehension of small breeders

On the epidemic side, if the current outbreak in the North spreads, it would be the fourth wave of avian flu in France since 20. And small and large ranchers are passing the buck on the responsibility for this situation. “It is the industrial system that diffuses the virus, and the transport of poultry”, defends Hubert Garer. “It is also they who put pressure so that we, small breeders, do not benefit from any more exemption”. A derogation which could exempt farms of less than 1. 20 poultry to confine.

But “the scientists are clear,” says Marie-Pierre Pé. Sheltering poultry is essential to prevent the virus from infecting ducks ”. And to add: “the anger of the small producers, I hear it. But it is easier for them to adapt inexpensively to the measures than the managers of industrial farms. ”

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