Foie Gras Benefits + Side Effects

By Adriane Marie •  Updated: 08/03/22 •  12 min read
foie gras benefits and side effects


Foie gras health side effects may include:

Foie gras is…

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02/18/2024 12:58 am GMT


Water footprint: moderate, it takes 4,325 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of duck meat / 518 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of duck meat

Carbon footprint: high, 35.9 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of offals, a car driving equivalent of 82.5 miles or 133 kilometers

Destruction: high, foie gras production is relatively destructive, animal agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution and habitat destruction, responsible for up to 91% of Amazon destruction

Foie gras is…


Kills: ducks and geese must be killed in order to produce foie gras, some ducks and geese survive throat-cutting slaughtering and are still fully conscious as they are dunked into scalding hot waters for de-feathering, over 15 million ducks are killed in the UK alone each year

Harms: ducks, thousands of ducks are crammed into dark sheds standing on wire, dirt and their own feces, ducks cannot clean themselves, diseases spread quickly, due to such stressful, crowded conditions and confinement, many ducks pull out their own feathers and peck each other, to prevent this, factory farm workers cut off the ducks’ beaks without painkillers, consequently many ducks may die from infection or starvation after such mutilation, ducks’ legs become deformed and crippled from being unnaturally fattened, around 95% of duck production comes from intensive indoor farming, never seeing natural daylight

Indirectly kills or harms: wildlife and ecosystems, surrounding wildlife (fox, coyote, bobcat, hawk, or owl and more) may be killed to prevent predation on livestock, ducks’ wastewater, runoff and leakages negatively affect aquatic ecosystems, pesticides used to control pests and predators cause pollution to ecosystems once they enter groundwater and surface waters, the impact of such waste and chemical pollution on sensitive ecosystems results in biodiversity loss, ecosystems are contaminated via ammonia deposition, drug residues and hormones, additionally, intensive feed production for poultry livestock contributes to biodiversity loss via land use, land-use change and modification of natural ecosystems and habitats, excretion of hormones from poultry is cited to be a possible cause of endocrine disruption in wildlife, steroid levels are high enough to cause endocrine disruption on runoff from fields where poultry manure has been applied, resulting in reproductive disorders and disease transmission to a variety of wildlife populations

Foie gras is…


Health and safety: hazardous, poultry processing workers have some of the highest rates of occupational injury and illness in the USA, the work environment in processing plants is dirty, dangerous, at times machines that injure workers by crushing, amputating, burning and slicing them, workers use tools such as knives, hooks, scissors, and saws, injuries include cuts, stabs, infections, scars, scratches, missing fingers, swollen joints, working conditions are humid, slippery, loud, hot or below freezing resulting in respiratory problems, skin infections and falls, workers experience, irritating chemicals in poultry plants can cause health issues like chronic respiratory disorders, an average of 27 poultry workers a day suffer from work-related amputations or hospitalizations in the USA

Living conditions: poor, workers must process thousands of animals per day, they are pressured to work as fast as possible, rest breaks and bathroom breaks are discouraged or denied, many workers must wear diapers, they experience stress, physical and emotional pain, at poultry plants line speeds are 140 birds per minute
Wages: low, in the USA poultry workers are poorly compensated and earn under $15 an hour, they are often pushed to work faster so companies can profit more

Foie gras has…

Where does most foie gras come from?

France is the world’s largest producer and consumer of foie gras but it is also produced in other European nations, the United States and China.

Is foie gras nutritious?

Foie gras is high in protein, iron and vitamin B12 but also fat, cholesterol, growth hormones and antibiotics.

What are some vegan substitutes?

Check out this Vegan Substitutes List to see alternatives for meat, dairy, eggs, fish and more.

foie gras is acidic.

acidic foods and alkaline diet benefits that improve ph levels

Is foie gras alkaline or acidic? Foie gras is acidic once digested. Meat, organ meats and liver have acidic pH levels.

When you eat food, it is broken down to an ash residue that can be neutral, acidic or alkaline. Minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, silver, copper and iron produce an alkaline ash; whereas sulfur, phosphorus, chlorine and iodine, which are found in meat, coffee, dairy and alcohol, leave an acid ash.

Going alkaline easier than ever with this: Acidic and Alkaline Foods List

foie gras is gluten free.

glutinous foods have side effects but a gluten free diet can help

Is foie gras gluten free? Yes, foie gras is gluten free. Foie gras does not contain gluten. Foie gras is a type of pate made from duck or goose liver, therefore making it a naturally gluten free food. 

While celiac disease may not be as rampant as many marketing trends lead us to believe, you may have a gluten sensitivity…

Celiac and gluten sensitivity symptoms are similar and may include: recurring abdominal pain, chronic diarrhea, constipation, tingling, numbness in hands and feet, chronic fatigue, joint pain, unexplained infertility and low bone density (osteopenia or osteoporosis).

There are hundreds of potential symptoms, many of which are also symptoms of other conditions.

Going gluten-free easier than ever with this: Gluten and Gluten Free Foods List

foie gras is not a common food allergen.

side effects of common food allergens like milk, wheat, soy, fish, tree nuts, peanuts, eggs and crustaceans

Is foie gras a common food allergen? No, foie gras is not a common food allergen. Some people may experience allergic reactions to foie gras but it is relatively rare by comparison.

A group of the eight major allergenic foods is often referred to as the Big-8 and includes milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soybeans. 

These foods account for about 90% of all food allergies in the United States.

Severe food allergies can be life threatening. Following ingestion of a food allergen, a person with food allergies can experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. 

Persons may still be allergic to and have serious reactions to foods other than the eight foods identified by the law.

Be aware of common dietary restrictions and food allergens with this: The Big 8 Most Common Food Allergens List

foie gras likely has a moderate water footprint.

water footprints of food and products

Does foie gras have a high or low water footprint? Foie gras likely has a relatively moderate water footprint compared to other foods.

What is the water footprint of foie gras? It takes 4,325 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of duck meat / 518 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of duck meat.

Did you know that water is a finite, non-renewable resource? Once it’s gone, it’s gone!

We must do what we can to conserve fresh water and a major way to reduce needless water consumption is to change the way we eat. That’s not to say we need to reduce our water intake….quite the opposite. It’s important for our health to drink lots of water and eat foods that hydrate. The kind of water conservation we’re talking about here is behind the scenes.

How much water does it take to produce an apple? A serving of rice? A steak dinner?

We need to be aware of something referred to as a “water footprint”. That is, the amount of fresh water utilized in the production or supply of goods we consume. As it turns out it takes significantly more water to yield foods that come from animals than foods that come from plants. Imagine how much water a cow needs to consume to generate a piece of beef. Not only how much water a single cow drinks, rather all the water that went into producing the crops that the cow ate.

Find out how much water your food consumes with this: Water Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

foie gras has a high carbon footprint.

carbon footprints of food and food emissions

Does foie gras have a high or low carbon footprint? Foie gras has a relatively high carbon footprint compared to other foods.

What is the carbon footprint of foie gras? It takes around 35.9 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of offals, a car driving equivalent of 82.5 miles or 133 kilometers.

Food not only has a water footprint but also a carbon footprint, known as CO2e, which stands for carbon dioxide equivalent. Since carbon measurements are a bit more difficult to comprehend, it is common to equate CO2e to the distance which a car drives in miles or kilometers.

When calculating product emissions, some factors that may be included are… farm equipment, animal feed production, hothouses (greenhouses), food processing, packaging, transport, refrigeration, freezing, package waste, and more.

There are a number of steps that can be taken to reduce energy output. According to Oxford Martin School researchers, if the world went vegan, eliminating animal-derived products, it could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by two thirds and avoid climate damages of $1.5 trillion.

But that’s not all!

It’s best to keep the following in mind when grocery shopping:

Find out how much carbon your food emits with this: Carbon Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

foie gras is unsustainable.

sustainable shopping, for eco friendly brands and products good for the environment

Overall, is foie gras eco friendly? Is foie gras sustainable?

Foie gras production is relatively unsustainable.

A 2018 Oxford University study – which is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet – found that ‘avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth’ as animal farming provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of our farmland.

Consuming animal products and byproducts is not environmentally friendly and is one of the worst things for the Earth. Not only is meat production wasteful, it causes enormous amounts of pollution. The industry is one of the biggest causes of climate change.

A 2010 United Nations report said that a global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world the worst impacts of climate change.

foie gras is not vegan.

Is foie gras vegan? No, foie gras is not vegan. Foie gras is meat, the liver of a duck or goose fattened by gavage, therefore making it an animal-derived food. A duck or goose must be killed in order to produce foie gras. 

According to Sentient Media, “more than 200 million land animals are killed for food around the world every day. Including wild-caught and farmed fishes, we get a total closer to 3 billion animals killed daily.”

Animals of factory farms and the livestock industry are suffering. They live in horrific conditions that often include confinement, physical abuse and unnatural environments…so much so that they need to receive antibiotics to keep from getting ill or spreading disease. They’re also injected with growth hormones to become fatter faster and live short lives, being slaughtered as soon as they finish growing and are killed prematurely, well before their natural lifespan.

Because we cannot see for ourselves how these animals live and what they endure does not mean it isn’t happening. The meat, poultry and dairy industries do everything they can to distance us from knowing how our food comes to be in order to keep us in the dark about what we support each time we buy animal derived products and byproducts.

Go vegan for animals!

It’s the best way to help animals and it’s not as difficult as you may think. Speak for animals with your actions, for they cannot speak at all.

Going vegan is easier than ever, at a glance with this: Vegan and Non-Vegan Foods List

foie gras is a product that has labor issues.

benefits of buying fair trade, labor rights, human rights and workers rights issues

Did you know the single largest employer in the world is agriculture? The labor involved behind each and every product cannot go unrecognized. 

Sadly, many labor concerns exist around the world in both developed and developing countries. We must be vigilant to ensure what we buy is not contributing to industries that are unfair to their valuable workers. Some known problems include workplace health and safety, child labor, gender inequality, inadequate pay, wage theft and exploitation. Workers can even be subjected to harassment, humiliation and violence and unfair employers often fail to provide laborers with access to shade, drinking water, restrooms and breaks. Consequently, laborers can face nausea, dizziness, heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke -the leading cause of farmworker death! 

Such mistreatment has been likened to modern day slavery. Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation. 

Fair trade organizations fight to ensure better social, environmental and economic standards. 

We can improve people’s lives with foods we eat every day simply by buying products that are certified fair trade. 


Pate de foie gras, canned (goose liver pate), smoked

The Spruce Eats: 5 Issues to Consider Before Eating Foie Gras

PETA: duck and goose meat industry

BBC News: Duck rearing conditions ‘getting worse’ says RSPCA

VIVA Org: farmed and slaughtered animals in the UK

Adriane Marie

Hi, I'm Adriane, creator of HEALabel! I organize info for you to comprehensively see how purchases impact health, environment, animals and laborers. Stay aware because you care! Subscribe below to get my weekly newsletter with tips, new info and other ethical consumer insight.

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