Five Things to Consider Before Eating Foie Gras

Explore five of the biggest reasons to avoid eating foie gras, the artificially fattened liver of a goose or duck. These views are shared by many who disagree with both the method and reasons for its production. Those who enjoy eating, and of course producers, will argue against them. It is for you to decide.

  • 01 of 05

    It's Considered Unethical

    Plate of Foie Gras
    Foie Gras. arnaudbertrande/Getty Images

    It is worth mentioning that many people consider "gavage," the process of force-feeding the animal to enlarge its liver artificially, an unethical and cruel practice. There are many schools of thought on this issue, and it's worth noting that there are ethical producers and unethical producers for every kind of food available. In many gourmands' opinions, a happy animal is a tasty animal, so it stands to reason that a high-quality producer who is open with their processing policies is the best choice for those who choose to consume foie gras.

  • 02 of 05

    High Fat Content

    Foie Gras
    Foie Gras. Pierre Louis Viel/Getty Images

    Foie gras is renowned for its smooth, creamy taste, but that luxury comes with a price. The fat content of fatty goose liver is a startling 86.1% because birds store excess fat in their livers. A 1-ounce serving of foie gras contains 12 grams of fat and 42 milligrams of cholesterol. To put that in perspective, a 3.5-ounce hamburger at McDonald's contains 9 grams of fat and 25 milligrams of cholesterol.

  • 03 of 05

    Risk of Disease

    Bloc de foie
    Bloc de Foie Gras. Carmen MartA-nez BanAs/Getty Images

    Regular consumption may raise your risk of developing a variety of serious medical conditions. According to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a certain compound in goose or duck liver may trigger amyloidosis disease in genetically predisposed people. Alzheimer's, Huntingdon's disease, type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and atherosclerosis are all related to irregular amyloid protein buildup. Does this mean you'll get one of these conditions just by eating fatty poultry liver on your vacation to Paris? No, but your risk of developing the disease is higher if you already carry the genetic markers for amyloid-related disease and consume foie gras on a regular basis over a long period of time.

  • 04 of 05

    Food Poisoning

    Foie Gras on Jelly Stock Photo
    Foie Gras. Gaelle Cohen/Getty Images

    Many versions of foie gras are served cold or barely seared on the exterior and cool in the middle, leading to concern about food poisoning. In the early 1900's, it was thought that undercooked duck or goose livers were a high risk food. The truth behind it is actually much more forgiving, because fat, which makes up the majority of foie gras, isn't as conducive to bacteria growth as other tissues. ​Don't partake of undercooked pate if you're pregnant or immune-compromised.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    It's Expensive

    foie gras and beef
    Fresh Fried Foie Gras. Aaron Joel Santos - Getty Images

    Technically, this one affects the health of your pocketbook. There's no way around it, at $50-60 per pound, the average price in most major metropolitan areas, foie gras can't be considered a budget-friendly food for most households.