The List: Last Meals

Whether it’s through overfishing, new ethical standards, or nanny-state health measures, the following foods may some day soon disappear from menus forever. Eat up while you can.

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Foie Gras

What is it? Frequently served as pt or sliced and pan-seared, foie gras is made from the liver of ducks who have been force-fed through a tube, a grisly process known as gavage.

Who wants it gone? American animal rights activists

Why cant I eat it? Four years ago, the state of California passed a law banning foie gras that will take effect in 2012. Bans have been considered in five other U.S. states. Chicago recently overturned a three-year-old ban on foie gras, but resolutions condemning the cocktail-party staple have passed in other municipalities. American chefs complain that foie gras is being unfairly singled out while cruel factory-farming methods have provoked no such backlash. Celebrity foodie Anthony Bourdain has speculated that foie grass bad reputation has more to do with the fact that its fancy, and associated with the French.

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McDonalds Fries

What is it? Depending on where you live, those crispy, greasy, curiously addictive fries that provide the perfect complement to any Quarter Pounder or Happy Meal can be loaded with artery-clogging trans fat.

Who wants it gone? Anti-obesity campaigners

Why cant I eat it? Yes, Mickey Ds will still be serving fries to grateful billions around the world, but they wont be the same ones you grew up with. Daily consumption of trans fats, most frequently found in partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, can increase ones risk of heart disease by more than 25 percent. In 2004, Denmark became the first country to ban trans fats. Switzerland followed suit this April. Some American cities, including New York and Boston, have also hopped on the ban wagon. But theyve got nothing on Los Angeles, which has completely banned any new fast-food restaurants in some poor neighborhoods. Tomorrow, you may need to have your break somewhere else.


Beluga Caviar

What is it? Since the days of Catherine the Great, any self-respecting member of the global elite has known that the finest caviar comes from the roe of beluga sturgeons in the Caspian Sea basin.

Who wants it gone? Conservationists, the United Nations

Why cant I eat it? In the last decades of the 20th century, Caspian sturgeons were fished nearly to extinction. In 2006, the United Nations imposed a near-total ban on the trade of caviar from the region, which once made up 90 percent of the global caviar trade. The embargo was partially lifted last year, but fishing quotas are still 15 percent lower than in 2005. Unfortunately, the Caspian ban has led to the overfishing of U.S. species that have been picking up the slack in the global caviar supply.

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What is it? Meat from young calves that is especially tender due to their limited dietoften only milkand limited muscle use. Veal farmers traditionally use crates or tethers to keep calves from moving too much before slaughter, or slatted floors to keep them from standing up.

Who wants it gone? Animal rights activists, particularly in Britain

Why cant I eat it? Veal crates have been banned in Britain since 1990 and in the European Union since 2007. European farms nonetheless still frequently use slatted floors and other methods to keep calves from moving. In 2008, Colorado became the first U.S. state to ban crates, and California may soon do the same. The American Veal Association has announced the phasing out of crates within the next 10 years. Although white veal, the tender variety created through an all-milk diet and limited movement, will probably never be acceptable to animal rights groups, and although bans are likely to spread, veal ros, a pinker and more humane variety from calves with more range of movement, is increasingly popular in veal-wary Britain.

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Chilean Sea Bass

What is it: Dissostichus eleginoides, or Patagonian toothfish, is a large, deep-water, carnivorous fish living in Antarctic seas. Thanks to some clever marketing, you probably know it as Chilean sea bass.

Who wants it gone? No one. Its just on the verge of extinction.

Why cant I eat it? The WWF warns that if youve ever ordered Chilean sea bass, theres about a 50 percent chance that youve supported the illegal trade of endangered species. The delicious fish, known as the white gold of the southern sea, exploded in popularity during the 1990s, but was overfished to the brink of extinction. More than 1,000 American chefs signed a letter vowing to take a pass on Chilean sea bass. Only one small legal fishery remains in operation, but, sadly, poaching keeps the fish on the market. Feeling guilty about eating sea bass? Youre not the only one. Environmental leader Al Gore was attacked by conservation groups for serving the fish at his daughters wedding last year. If you absolutely must eat it, be sure that its from a fishery accredited by the Marine Stewardship Council.