15 February 2015. For immediate release.
The South East Trawl Fishing Industry Association (SETFIA) welcomes the article in today’s Sydney Morning Herald in which Fish and Chip industry leaders Con and Theodore Patsiotis, from the Australian Seafood Fish and Chippery in North Coburg, called for country of origin labelling laws for cooked fish. The Australian Seafood Fish and Chippery was recently ranked as one Melbourne’s top 10 fish and chip shops.
Simon Boag, SETFIA’s Executive Officer explained that,
“There are already laws in place that require the labelling of raw seafood as Australian or imported. However, somehow sellers of cooked seafood in all States other than the Northern Territory have escaped these laws.”
“It seems the noose is tightening on dodgy sellers of cooked seafood. A Senate enquiry has recommended country of origin labelling for cooked seafood, there is now a naming standard for Australian seafood and today we see the owners of a leading fish and chip shop backing better labelling.”
“The current loophole in the law allows unscrupulous retailers of cooked seafood to mislabel it using the names of Australian fish. For example; flathead, a family of fish only found in Australia, is often used to mask the true identity of a fish from Argentina.”
“It has taken the Australian seafood industry decades to build brand names like flathead, ling and flake. These names now signify freshness, great taste, amazing health benefits and sustainability. These brands must be protected. Consumers have a right to know what they are eating.”
Mr Boag believes that mandatory labelling of cooked seafood as Australian or imported would see the average price of seafood decrease because consumers would refuse to pay premium prices for fish they believed was fresh and local, when it was actually a frozen imported product that was up to 18 months old.
SETFIA called on the Government to listen to the seafood industry, consumers and now the legitimate sellers of cooked seafood and remove the loophole that allows cooked seafood to be sold under Australian fish names.