The state of California could prohibit the sale and marketing of foie gras on the grounds that the "gavage" or force feeding method used on geese and ducks is "cruel".

California's parliament is set to examine a Democratic Party bill proposing a ban but which if adopted would only take effect in 2012.

The bill proposes a US$1,000 fine per day per force-fed fowl. California is only said to count one foie gras producer.

At the start of the year, the US banned imports of French foie gras on sanitary grounds. Until now, the US imported 123 tonnes of French foie gras annually, representing 0.7% of its global production.