Veteran actress Brigitte Bardot has blasted bosses of a luxury London department store for continuing to stock foie gras.

The French star has written a scathing letter to Fortnum & Mason's chief executive Ewan Venters, labelling him an "imbecile" for promoting the controversial pate, which is made from the engorged livers of force-fed geese.

The practice is banned in the U.K. but is still legal in Bardot's native France and the star has demanded that Venters should take heed of scientific evidence which supports campaigners' views on the cruelty of foie gras production.

Bardot, who is backing a long-standing campaign by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta), writes, "Mr Venters seems to be one of those imbeciles who, just for a fleeting moment of flavour, is willing to ignore the overwhelming scientific evidence that force-feeding ducks and geese to produce grotesquely enlarged livers for foie gras is horrifically cruel.

"I hope France will end this shameful abuse of birds, which is quite rightly banned in Venters' own country (the U.K.). But until then, Mr Venters should keep his hands off our geese."

The actress' self-named foundation is among several animal-protection groups which have joined forces with Peta to call for Fortnum & Mason to end sales of foie gras. Other stars backing the campaign include Titanic actress Kate Winslet and former Bond star Sir Roger Moore