Chicago has become the first city in the US to outlaw the sale of foie gras, the fatty liver of ducks and geese that some consider a delicacy and others call a cruel and barbaric practice.

Foie gras is produced by force-feeding grain to duck and geese through a tube inserted onto their throats. This causes the animals’ livers to expand.

According to a report in The New York Times, the City Council adopted the foie gras ban by a vote of 48 to one.

The regulation makes “food dispensing establishments”, retail outlets and restaurants, subject to fines of US$500 if they are found selling foie gras. Offenders will be detected by complaints from members of the public.

Other states have enacted similar legislation, for example in 2004, California enacted a loaw that will end the production and sale of foie gras by 2012, but Chicago will be the first place to enforce a prohibition of foie gras.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Mayor Richard M Daley was unimpressed by the City Councils decision. “We have children getting killed by gang leaders and dope dealers,” Daley is quoted as saying. “We have real issues here in this city. And we’re dealing with foie gras? Let’s get some priorities.”