26 September 2023

New rules to govern seafood meals

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Consumer Protection has announced that in a move designed to increase consumer awareness about where restaurants, cafés and hotels get their food, the Federal Government is working with the industry across Australia to implement mandatory country-of-origin labelling on seafood.

WA Commissioner for Consumer Protection, Trish Blake said that knowing where their food came from could be important for consumers, who might be prepared to pay a little extra for home-grown products.

“However, research found a common misconception exists that seafood sold in hospitality settings is Australian, when it is actually often imported,” Ms Blake said.

“Under the new plan, businesses will need to show if their seafood is from Australia, imported or both, and the Federal Government’s Department of Industry, Science and Resources is inviting feedback on how it will work.”

She said some restaurants and cafes already displayed seafood origin information for consumers, however there wasn’t any national consistency as there was for food purchased at the supermarket.

“Since 1 July 2018, a mandatory country-of-origin food labelling system has been in place for food available for retail sale in Australia, including food sold in stores or markets, online or from a vending machine,” Ms Blake said.

“Any labelling claim likely to mislead consumers is a breach of the Australian Consumer Law,” she said.

“If you see a country-of-origin claim that you think is misleading or does not comply with the law, then you can make a consumer complaint.”

The consultation period continues until 15 March and anyone wishing to have their say on the new country-of-origin labelling for seafood in hospitality can fill a survey on the national Department of Industry, Science and Resources website at this PS News link.

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