A Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee has reported on the current requirements for labelling of seafood. The Committee’s terms of reference included whether the current seafood labelling requirements:
- provide consumers with sufficient information to make informed choices, including choices based on sustainability and provenance preferences,
- whether they allow for best-practice traceability of product chain-of-custody;
- the need for labelling for cooked or pre-prepared seafood products,
- whether current labelling laws allow domestic seafood producers to compete on even terms with imported seafood products.
The Committee found that seafood consumption in Australia has doubled since 1975 and that 75% of all seafood consumed in Australia is imported. Also that 70% of Australian consumers prefer local seafood to imported seafood and that consumers consider freshness first and then country of origin when buying seafood.
The Committee made only one recommendation. That being that the exemption regarding country of origin labelling under the Food Standards Code for cooked or pre-prepared seafood sold by the food services sector be removed, subject to a transition period of no more than 12 months.
In other words they recommended that all cooked and pre-prepared seafood be labelled with its country of origin.