French foie gras producers have accused a Supreme Court in California of responding to false claims by vegetarian lobbyists after it refused to hear a petition against a ban on the gourmet food.
Foie gras, considered a luxury food product, is made from the livers of force-fed ducks and geese.
The decision to deny the appeal on Monday, which also involved a Canadian non-profit organisation that represents duck and goose farmers, means a ban on the delicacy will be upheld since its sale was prohibited in the US state in 2012.
“It is unacceptable that such a decision, taken under the influence of the lobbying of some activists orchestrating regular misinformation on our products to advocate dogmatic vegetarianism, could endanger the image of an emblematic dish of the French art of living,” Michel Fruchet, head of French foie gras producers group Cifog, said in a statement seen by Euronews on Tuesday.
The group added that the product is "highly appreciated in France and across the world, foie gras represents the gastronomic and culinary knowledge that we should defend across the world."
France is the world's largest foie gras producer, holding a global market share of 70%. It was recognised as part of the country's “cultural and gastronomic heritage” in 2006.
The animal rights group PETA welcomed the Californian court's decision and said: "There’s nothing sophisticated or natural about foie gras... Sensitive, conscious ducks and geese are crammed into warehouse-like sheds and force-fed until they develop hepatic lipidosis, commonly known as 'fatty liver disease'."
However, Ciofg said the animals are raised in "fresh air" and that "producers respect the well-being of their animals".