Food Wine Produce
02/09/2020
Is that an Aussie prawn in your paella?

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Believe it. You will be sitting with friends at one of your favourite local restaurants in the near future. You will be raising a glass while enjoying fresh local produce. You will be sampling some of Australia’s finest seafood, which you know has been caught just around the corner. How will you know where your seafood has come from? Because hopefully by then all food service seafood will have a ‘country of origin’ label, just like the food you buy from the supermarket.

Seafood Industry Australia chief executive Veronica Papacosta says: “Seventy per cent of the seafood eaten in Australia is imported, and the majority of this consumption is in the food service sector. Many people do not realise this. Consumers assume their iconic seafood meals are made using iconic Australian seafood. However, we know this is often not the case.”

The Australian seafood industry has repeatedly appealed to the Federal Government to make country of origin labelling in food service fixed. Ms Papacosta continues: “Consistently, Australians have said they want Australia seafood labelled in food service. More than 86,000 consumers have signed petitions asking for it, and two Senate inquiries have called for it.” 

As the Government begins an evaluation of legislation that came into effect two years ago, SIA is calling for consumers to support the expansion of the current Country of Origin Labelling (CoOL) laws to include seafood sold in food service. Ms Papacosta continues: “Now, for a fourth and hopefully last time, we need as many people as possible to express their support for the labelling to be expanded to cover seafood sold in food service. It’s been demonstrated that the current voluntary labelling system does not work. The change to mandatory, legislated labelling is wanted by consumers and is inevitable. We strongly urge the Government to take action this time.” 

George Koklas, who is the owner of The Peninsula Fish Co, says: “Restaurants use imported fish because it is available all year round and is usually more cost-effective, but customers should have the choice whether they buy Australian seafood or not. They have the right to know where it comes from.”

What do you think? Fishing for an answer to where your flathead or prawns come from? Then take a squiz at the discussion paper and survey at consult.industry.gov.au, which can be viewed until September 11. 

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