18/02/2012 09:27 GMT | Updated 18/02/2012 09:31 GMT

Butcher Jack O Shea, Who Sold Banned Foie Gras To 'Secret Society' Of Customers, Sacked From Selfridges

High-end butcher Jack O'Shea has been forced to shut up shop at Selfridges after illegally trading foie gras to customers who knew the special code-word according to reports.

Packets of goose-liver pate was passed under the counter to a "secret society" of customers, after they uttered the code-word "french fillet."

Selfridges have a strict anti-cruelty policy, and foie gras is banned in this country, despite being sold in many luxury food stores.

To produce foie gras, which literally means 'fatty liver', ducks or geese are force-fed grain, their heads bent back as feeding pipes are fed in through their beaks.

Peta has led high profile campaigns against the practice, working alongside Kate Winslet and Sir Roger Moore to raise awareness of the often cruel practice. During the force feeding, the birds' throats are often punctured and the birds can suffer from severe tissue damage and internal bleeding.

Jack O'Shea was escorted out of the department store on Christmas Eve, after the Evening Standard revealed the butcher's illegal trade. The Standard exposed the butcher, buying a 795g pack of the luxury liver pate, costing £39.40, which was believed to have been imported directly from Paris.

The highly-regarded butcher counts celebrity chefs Heston Blumenthal and Richard Corrigan among his clients, and was unrepentant about his exposure. He told The Telegraph in December:

“I will probably lose my business over it but I couldn’t give a damn, my conscience is clear,” he said.

“Stuffing a goose with grain is like stuffing me with Guinness, it has been totally blown out of proportion."

O'Shea was given a warning over the selling of the foie gras, but now Selfridges has terminated his contract over separate hygiene concerns.

Ewan Venters, Director of Food and Restaurants for Selfridges, said: "It is regrettable that we had to part company with Jack O'Shea. But if anyone puts the store's five-star health rating in jeopardy, they can no longer be part of our business – it is as simple as that."