Durban - Supermarket chain Fruit & Veg City was forced to remove foie gras (duck liver paté) from its shelves and issue an apology after shoppers voiced their anger at the sale of the French delicacy.
The online campaign began on Friday with several consumers posting angry messages on the chain’s Facebook page.
The food retailer eventually caved in and sent out a press release the same day, saying the product would be discontinued immediately.
Foie gras is produced by force-feeding ducks or geese large amounts of grain so that their livers swell to up to 10 times their normal size.
A pipe is shoved down the bird’s oesophagus two to three times a day and food is forced into the stomach, until the birds develop an extremely enlarged liver, and by the time they are slaughtered they are dying of liver failure.
The retailer responded swiftly to the online comments.
“Fruit and Veg City and Food Lover’s Market is pleased to confirm that the group has discontinued the stocking and sale of foie gras in its stores effective immediately,” said the chain, via its publicist.
“The product was available in a limited number of stores located in Gauteng and due to several complaints we have had from consumers, we have taken a second look at this industry.”
The group said its decision was that, although the sale of the product in South Africa was not illegal, to endorse this product would be to endorse an industry that is noted for its inhumane practices and treatment of animals.
“Our priority is always the consumer, focusing on trends and demands, but this is always balanced with the company values of fresh produce sourced in a sustainable manner.”
Emily Springer wrote on the retailer’s wall on Facebook: “We love going to your stores. Please don’t spoil this. [You say:] ‘We are here to educate, invigorate and update you on all the goodness of the Fruit & Veg City offering.’ Goodness does not equal selling foie gras.”
Bonny van Niekerk posted: “Thank you for making it so easy for me to never shop in Fruit & Veg again. It’s not often that we are given the chance to do the right thing and make a public stand against animal abuse. [I] am disappointed that you did not step up! Shameful!”