Leading article: A delicate issue in Franco-American relations


The French are sensitive about their favourite dishes, as the fierce response to California's ban on the sale of foie gras has illustrated.

The aversion felt by many Americans to consuming organs is well known. Having a good many fatty livers of their own, it is not surprising that they decline to eat those of birds. Nor is the sale of foie gras to California of any economic importance to France; almost all foie gras is, in fact, sold at home.

That has not stopped President Hollande from heading to a rural foie gras farm where he boldly asserted that he will "not allow any challenge to foie gras exports". One might wonder what the fuss is about. But France is a country where the tradition of eating Ortolan buntings, bones and all, with a cloth covering both the diner's head and the carcass, is much prized. All one can conclude, then, is that in France delicacies are a very delicate issue