July 1, 2008


Country-of-origin labelling law kicks in for top US catfish producing state


Country-of-origin labelling laws for catfish served in the US state of Mississippi has begun taking effect Tuesday July 1, 2008.


Under the new rules, which were approved unanimously by both the House and Senate, restaurants in the state serving foreign catfish would have to state so in their menus.


All restaurants serving catfish would have to inform customers as to the origin of the fish by using any of several informational materials offered free-of-charge by The Catfish Institute, the marketing arm of the US Farm-Raised Catfish industry.


The law requires only one prominent sign or placard for restaurants serving domestic catfish,


Those serving imported fish must indicate so on their menus using the same font size and type as the menu's dining options.


Since Mississippi is the leading producer of US Farm-Raised Catfish, the law would set an example to follow for other catfish-producing states, including Alabama, Louisiana and Texas, Roger Barlow, president of The Catfish Institute said.


About 70 percent of the state's catfish are served in restaurants, making these establishments the primary place to influence demand.


Imports of cheap catfish from Asia, particularly Vietnam, have driven many catfish producers and fishermen out of the business in the US.

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