In spite of a ban by Selfridges on the sale of foie gras, a butcher with a concession in the stores' food hall has been selling the gourmet product under the counter.
Celebrity butcher Jack O'Shea was escorted from Selfridges in London, following outrage by animal right's activists when it became public knowledge that he was flouting the stores ban on the sale of controversial gourmet foie gras. Following a high-profile campaign, spearheaded by ex James Bond star Roger Moore, Selfridges publicly banned the sale of the French luxury product on grounds of cruelty in 2009.
The London Evening Standard exposed O'Shea for selling for selling "under the counter" foie gras, and was able to make a purchase of the illicit item from the butcher's counter in Selfridges food hall. A staff member told the newspaper "We're not allowed to sell it here. The shop don't know about it. It's after Roger Moore and all that came through here protesting about it. We only get it in at Christmas time."
Initially Selfridges issued this statement: "Regrettably Jack O'Shea, our butcher, has been selling foie gras without our knowledge to selected customers on request. Jack O'Shea has apologised to us for contravening the Selfridges ban.Action has been taken and this practice has been stopped immediately." However, the Telegraph reported that when LES broke the story O'Shea was then escorted from Selfridges and called to a management meeting "like a naughty boy".
An unrepentant O'Shea said “I’m absolutely furious but my hands are tied, it looks like I will lose my concession. It’s true I had a secret society of people who wanted 'French fillet’, I sold it under the counter and I have been caught and now it looks like in the New Year I won’t have a shop in central London."
Whilst the sale of foie gras is not illegal it is deemed morally reprehensible, and campaigners have targeted other gourmet food outlets to put an end to the practice.