August 6, 2010
Australia requires seafood labelling
The Australian fishing industry has required labelling in all restaurants and takeaway shops to identify where their seafood comes from.
Despite strict requirements for country of origin labelling in supermarkets, Australian prawn and barramundi farmers claim their industry is being let down by the omission of labelling for cooked seafood sold in restaurants and takeaways. They want clear labelling of home-grown produce on menus and order boards because they fear imported seafood is being sold as Australian.
Australian Barramundi Farmers Association president Ken Chapman said foreign products were riding on the coattails of high-quality local seafood. "Our seafood is a national icon and Australian consumers and farmers deserve to have it protected," he said.
At their industry conference on the Gold Coast yesterday, seafood farmers voted for a motion which called on all sides of politics to support a system of labelling for cooked seafood. With the federal election fast approaching, Australian Prawn Farmers' Association president Nick Moore said it was time for politicians to deliver country of origin labelling for seafood.
"Unclear labelling dilutes our unique Australian icons. We get fake, cheap and imported didgeridoos and boomerangs, now we're getting barramundi that is not Australian. Consumers want and deserve to know where their seafood is coming from," Mr Moore said.
The Georgiou family of Newcastle doesn't label fish sold in the takeaway store they've run for 13 years but will happily tell customers where it is from. Andrew Georgiou, who runs the store with parents Helen and George, said just because a fish came from Australia did not mean it was superior. He believed customers were more concerned about taste and quality than where fish was caught.
"No one has ever said they were disappointed. I don't know about labels. When you go to a place and the fish has a label, how are you going to trust the label is right?" Georgiou said.