Australia to require restaurants to label seafood on menu with country of origin

Restaurants, cafes and take-away food stores around Australia will soon have to label seafood on their menus as to where the seafood came from, in order to help consumers make an informed purchasing decision.

Since 2018, when consumers buy fresh seafood anywhere around Australia, by law, it has to be labelled with its country of origin. The latest directive extends this requirement to the foodservice sector.

“What we’d like to see is Australian seafood identified on menus, simple as that,” said Seafood Industry Australia CEO Veronica Papacosta. “At a minimum we’d like to see something like Australian Barramundi listed, and businesses can then be as specific as they’d like.”

For imported seafood a simple ‘i’ to denote it is imported will suffice, she said, but with a footnote on the menu indicating that “I” means imported.

“Overwhelmingly we’ve heard consumers struggle to support industry when they dine out, because they simply can’t tell which seafood is Australian. Australia imports 66 percent of seafood consumed, so having this sort of information clearly available to consumers in foodservice is critical to allow them to supply chain transparency, and choice,” she said.

On Monday, the Australian government allocated Aus$1.6 million (US$1 million) to be used over the 2022–23 period to implement the labelling directive.

Read also: Australia aims to boost farmed salmon exports to Asia, US – but there are weak spots

The country produces only 2 percent of global harvest of farmed Atlantic salmon. About 70 percent of its production, or approximately US$412 million, is consumed locally.


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