Release date:November 18, 2022
Last update: January 17, 2023

In October 2019, the New York City Council passed an order banning the production of foie gras, which made headlines around the world. It was passed because of concerns about animal cruelty in the way foie gras is produced, but there has been much opposition, and the New York Times on September 19, 2022, reported a delay in enforcement. The ban was delayed by a lawsuit filed by two foie gras farms in the Hudson Valley of New York State in response to the ban.

Although enforcement in New York State has been put on hold, conflicts between consumers and government officials and foie gras producers over ethical standards have erupted outside of New York State, including a similar ban in California in 2012 that was overturned by a lawsuit filed by the producers but later re-enforced. The ban was overturned by a lawsuit filed by the growers, but was later re-enforced.

Did you know that in addition to foie gras, there are moves around the world to ban the importation and production of various other ingredients that are essential to restaurants? In this column, we will provide details on ingredients that may no longer be served in the future due to animal welfare and the effects of global warming.

Table of Contents

foie gras

Foie gras is forbidden in many other parts of California. The French word “foie gras” means “fattened goose liver”. As the name suggests, foie gras is produced by “force-feeding” (gavage), in which metal pipes are inserted into the beaks of geese and ducks to produce “fatty liver,” the liver of fattened geese, and the geese and ducks are fed large amounts of food to the point that it is harmful to their health. This production method has been called inhumane and has recently been called into question from the perspective of animal welfare.

Currently, the production of foie gras is banned in the United Kingdom, but there are no restrictions on its importation or sale. Meanwhile, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reported that on November 19, 2022, King Charles banned the use of foie gras in all royal palaces, including Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, drawing attention to the future of foie gras in the UK.

In addition to the United Kingdom, force-feeding is currently banned in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria, Denmark, Poland, Norway, Argentina, the Czech Republic, and Turkey. In France, the world’s largest producer of foie gras, the use of foie gras at official events has been banned in Lyon, Strasbourg, and other cities, and this trend is expected to spread further in the future.

Vegetable cultured foie gras /Dr.Foods offers burgers made with vegetable cultured foie gras

As a solution to these issues, in June 2022, Dr. Foods Co., Ltd. which conducts research and development of alternative meats, developed the world’s first “plant-based cultured foie gras” made from cashew nuts fermented by koji mold, etc. In December 2022, Spanish plant-based meat brand ” Hello Plant Foods launched a vegan foie gras “Fuah!” The first launch of 5,000 units sold out in supermarkets and specialty stores across Spain in just 12 hours. The second production run of 30,000 units also sold out.

[Related Article] “Plant-Based Foie Gras” from Spain Recreates Taste and Texture. First production run sold out in 12 hours.

caviar

Along with foie gras and truffles, caviar is one of the world’s top three delicacies. Some species of sturgeon, which lay the eggs that become caviar, require a quarter of a century to spawn, and in recent years the demand for caviar has far exceeded the supply because aquaculture has not kept pace.

Against this backdrop, sturgeon populations have declined sharply due to environmental degradation of their habitats and overfishing of eggs for processing into caviar, and all 27 species of sturgeon are on the IUCN Red List.

The development of cell-cultured caviar is also underway, and a joint research project between Wageningen University and Research Institute (WUR) and Geneus Biotech of the Netherlands has successfully developed a cell-cultured fish roe product named Magiccaviar. made from in vitro cultured eggs, and the cells are said to be taken from starlet sturgeon, a small sturgeon closely related to the beluga sturgeon but not endangered.

[Related Article] Caviar Using Cell Culture Technology. A project to save endangered sturgeon is underway.

shark fin

Shark fins are a luxury food item indispensable in Chinese restaurants. Shark fin fishing is done by a method called “shark finning,” in which the shark’s fins are removed from the shark while it is still alive and then returned to the sea. Sharks that have lost their fins are naturally unable to swim and sink to the bottom of the ocean, where they die.

This method of fishing has long been viewed as problematic from an animal welfare perspective, and the possession, sale, and consumption of shark fins has already been banned in the United States, first in Hawaii (2010), then in Washington, Oregon, and California (2011). Consumption of shark fins has also been banned in Toronto, Canada, and the United Kingdom was the first country in the world to enact a law banning the import and export of all products containing shark fins, including canned shark fin soup.

This trend is spreading to Greater China, the birthplace of shark fin, where the Hong Kong-based luxury hotel groups Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts and The Peninsula Hotels have stopped serving shark fin dishes at all of their hotels worldwide since 2012.

Octopus/Squid

In Japan, octopus and squid are commonly boiled and processed alive, based on the concept that “the fresher, the better the taste. Many restaurants dare to cook octopus and squid in front of customers after receiving their orders.

On the other hand, some people around the world have raised concerns about such cooking methods from the perspective of animal welfare, and a research report by the London School of Economics (LSE) revealed that cephalopods (including octopus and squid) and decapods (including crabs, lobsters, and shrimp) have “perception” to feel pain and distress. This report led to the British government’s decision to issue a report on the “perception” of pain and distress in 2021. In response to this report, on November 19, 2021, the British government added decapods and cephalopods, including octopuses, crabs, and lobsters, as “sentient animals” and subject to protection under the Animal Welfare (Sensation) Act.

The LSE report recommends that people should not use cooking methods that boil them alive or amputate their limbs, that they should not sell them to untrained traders, and that they should do their best during transportation. In Japan, it has been scientifically proven that decapods and cephalopods, which are not subject to the Animal Welfare and Control Law, feel pain, which may make it impossible to serve octopus and squid alive in the future, such as “Odori-gui” or “sunnatch,” a Korean dish.

[Related Article] British Government Certifies that Octopus and Crab Are Also Painful. Research Organization Calls for Consideration of Cooking Methods.

Ise lobster/crab

Teppan-yaki of live lobsters, in which live lobsters are grilled right in front of customers, is a popular menu item served at many high-end teppan-yaki restaurants in Japan. In addition to teppan-yaki, other cooking methods are also common in Japan, such as boiling live prawns and crabs or shelling them and preparing them as sashimi.

However, the scientific evidence that decapods, including shrimp and crabs, as well as the octopus and squid mentioned earlier, have a “sense” of pain and distress may make this type of provisioning method impossible in the future.

In terms of animal welfare, there are other countries besides the United Kingdom where shrimp and crabs are protected. In Italy, a restaurant owner who kept lobsters on ice before cooking was ordered to pay a fine of 2,000 euros, or about 250,000 Japanese yen, for causing undue suffering to the lobsters.

Switzerland also passed a law in 2018 prohibiting the boiling of lobsters alive. The law also addresses the conditions under which crustaceans, including lobsters, must be transported, prohibiting them from being packed in ice or placed in ice water during transport, and stating that they must be kept in their natural state. Other similar laws are in effect in Australia and Norway.

[Related Article] British Government Certifies that Octopus and Crab Are Also Painful. Research Organization Calls for Consideration of Cooking Methods.

slices of fresh raw fish arranged to look lifelike

“Ikizukuri” is not limited to octopus and squid, but can be made from a variety of fish. The fish are lifted out of the tank and quickly filleted without being cured.

Although this craftsmanship is a Japanese tradition, some foreign tourists have expressed their feelings of “pity” and “inhumane” at the sight of fish that continue to move after being separated from their owners. It is necessary to understand the difference between Japanese and foreign values regarding food culture and animal welfare when dealing with inbound tourists.

egg

The term ” cage-free ” refers to methods of raising chickens without cages, such as flat-feeding and free-range keeping, etc. In August 2021, 100% of the eggs used in the Cabinet Office cafeteria were cage-free, which has become a hot topic. The value that “keeping animals in small cages is contrary to the concept of animal welfare” is spreading in Japan as well.

While many non-cage-free eggs are still being distributed in Japan, countries such as Switzerland, Sweden, Finland, and Germany have already enacted laws prohibiting cage-type rearing methods. If these values spread further in the future, there is a possibility that non-cage-free eggs will no longer be distributed.

[Related article] “Cage-Free Pledge” to eliminate cages for egg-laying hens, 88% of companies fulfill their pledge.
[Related Articles] Yam Brands Declares 100% Cage-Free Egg Use in Major Markets

matsutake mushroom

Matsutake mushrooms are an indispensable autumn delicacy in Japanese cuisine. In recent years, deforestation and tree diseases have led to a decline in the number of “red pines,” which are essential for matsutake mushroom growth, and the number of matsutake mushrooms has declined proportionately. 2020 saw the species listed on the IUCN Red List of endangered wild animals and plants.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the annual production of matsutake mushrooms in Japan has declined from 12,000 tons in 1941 to 14 tons in 2019 and 32 tons in 2020, and there is concern that natural domestic matsutake mushrooms may become difficult to obtain in the future.

Abalone/Uni

In recent years, the “iso-yake problem” has become increasingly serious in oceans around the world. Isoyake is a phenomenon in which seaweed beds, where kelp and other seaweeds grow in colonies, are severely degraded or lost, exposing the reefs on the seafloor. It is also called “desertification of the sea,” and it has become clear that once isoyaki occurs, it takes many years for the seaweed beds to recover.

The main causes of the rocky shore scorch problem are rising sea water temperatures due to global warming and feeding damage by sea urchins. Sea urchins feed on kelp and have the habit of “never resting.” Even after they have eaten all the kelp in the seaweed beds, they continue to live on other seaweeds, resulting in “skinny sea urchins” with poor body size and little commercial value.

If the problem of rocky shore scorching becomes more serious due to a large number of these “skinny sea urchins,” it will be impossible to harvest “sea urchins with full flesh” and abalone, which, like sea urchins, are fed on kelp. If global warming causes a further rise in sea water temperature and ecosystem collapse, there is a risk that “natural, high-quality” sea urchins and abalone will become unavailable.

[Related article] Protecting the Ocean from the Isobarbation Problem. World’s First Shipment of Sea Urchin Raised in Land-Based Facilities Begins

Salmon/Ikura

The “salmon(chum salmon)” grows up in the northern seas of the Sea of Okhotsk and the Bering Sea, where sea water temperatures are low, and returns to its home river to spawn and live out its life.

In recent years, however, rising sea water temperatures due to global warming have raised the temperature of Japan’s territorial waters to unsuitable for salmon habitat, leading to poor catches. If global warming continues, the distribution of salmon is expected to move further north, and domestically produced salmon and salmon roe may become scarce in the future.

 

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The alternative food industry has also been developing plant-based seafood in recent years, including “salmon” made from pea protein, vegetable oil, and algae extracts using 3D printing technology, and salmon roe “puchil” made from ingredients extracted from seaweed.

[Related Article] Preventing Overfishing of Marine Life. Plant-Based Smoked Salmon from Australia Expands to 14 Countries
[Related article] What is the hot vegan food made by an organic citrus farm? Toward a Society Where Everyone Can Enjoy Food with Peace of Mind

Wine/Champagne

Abnormal weather caused by global warming is affecting even “grapes,” the raw material for wine and champagne.

In Bordeaux, France, seven grape varieties that can cope with rising temperatures, which had not been permitted under the AOC wine law, have been newly certified as climate change countermeasures. In 2003, Champagne became the first wine-producing region in the world to measure CO2 emissions.

Wine and Champagne are essential to restaurants of all genres. As regions work hard to combat climate change, hotels and restaurants need to show consideration.

coffee

Coffee is an indispensable item on the menus of hotels and restaurants as well as in cafes. The ” Coffee 2050 Problem,” which refers to the possibility that the land suitable for coffee cultivation will be reduced by half by 2050 due to the effects of climate change caused by global warming, and that coffee production activities will no longer be sustainable by 2050, has been a factor in the recent surge in the international coffee market price.

Among them, the amount of land suitable for cultivation of Arabica coffee, such as Blue Mountain and Geisha, which are popular as “delicious coffee” and served in restaurants and hotels, is said to decrease by nearly 50% by 2050. In Brazil, the world’s largest coffee producer, the amount of land suitable for coffee cultivation is expected to decrease by about 60% by 2050, leading to a decline in coffee production and a sharp rise in coffee prices.

In addition, the majority of coffee producers are small-scale farmers in developing countries with poverty issues such as Latin America and Africa. A decrease in production directly leads to a decrease in income and accelerates poverty. As a result, there is a risk of various problems such as starvation and loss of learning opportunities for children due to child labor.

[Related Articles] What Restaurants Can Do to Solve the “Coffee 2050 Problem

chocolate

Chocolate, an indispensable dessert, is also facing a crisis of survival due to the effects of global warming. If global warming becomes even more serious in the future, abnormal weather and droughts will make it difficult to grow cacao by 2050, leading to a decrease in production and a sharp rise in prices.

As with the aforementioned coffee, 70% of the world’s production of cacao, the raw material for chocolate, is produced by small-scale farmers in West Africa. By procuring products that are “fair trade” or “organic” and that take the environment and producers into consideration, we can contribute not only to environmental conservation but also to the resolution of social issues. In recent years, attention has also focused on chocolate made from domestically produced cacao.

[Related articles] Kaga City, Ishikawa Prefecture, to produce domestically produced chocolate through “cacao forest creation” using waste heat from hot springs

Editor’s Note

What did you think? In this column, we have detailed some of the foodstuffs that may no longer be available in the future due to animal welfare and global warming.

There are many foodstuffs that are taken for granted in Japan but are regulated by law and forbidden to be imported or produced in other parts of the world. Understanding the differences in values between Japan and other countries and the impact of various environmental issues on food ingredients may help protect the future of abundant food.

[Related Article]

アニマルウェルフェアとは?飲食店が知っておきたい基礎知識をご紹介

[Reference site] The New York City Ban on Foie Gras Is Delayed
[Reference site] Force-feeding banned one after another around the world.
[Reference Site] French regions ban foie gras at official events.
[Reference site] Dr.Foods completes the world’s first “vegetable cultured foie gras” WAYBACK BURGERS Omotesando store launches completely plant-based “NEXT Foie Gras Burger” using vegetable cultured foie gras
[Reference site] King Charles: Foie gras banned at royal residences
[Reference Site] IUCN: REDLIST “Sturgeon”
[Reference Site] Shark’s fin dishes are no longer served at Shangri-La Hotel, Hong Kong.
[Reference Site] The Peninsula” hotel will stop offering shark fins from next year.
[Reference Site] Culinary Controversies: Shark Fin Soup and Sea Creatures in the Asian Studies Curriculum
[Reference Site]Endangered Matsutake Mushrooms: What’s Happening Now in the Best-Known Production Area? Animal Damage, Climate Change, Aging of the Population – A Precious Brand in Crisis / Report on entering a mountain area Companion / Sasayama, Tanba, Hyogo.
[Reference Site] Cold Land Civil Engineering Research Institute: Relationship between sea urchins and kelp from the viewpoint of rocky-shore denudation.
[Reference Site] Fisheries Agency: Chapter 3: What is isobaric burn 3.1 Definition of isobaric burn.
[Reference site] The Threat of Climate Change in Wine Regions

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