CFA submission on Seafood Country-of-Origin Labelling

The Consumers’ Federation of Australia has made a submission to the Department of Industry, Science & Resources on Country-of-Origin Labelling for seafood in hospitality settings.

CFA considers that information about seafood origin will help consumers make more informed food choices in hospitality settings. Clearly, given a choice, some consumers may change their menu option if they are aware of the country of origin. Consumer choices could be based on a range of reasons, including a preference for seafood from a country because they have an affinity with that country or other concerns about the sustainability of fishing in a particular country or region.

In the submission, CFA says:

  • Seafood country-of-origin labelling should require labelling of the country of origin of seafood, and not merely use “imported” or “international” to designate foreign caught or produced seafood.
  • Country-of-origin labelling needs to be displayed wherever information about the meal is displayed, i.e., just displaying it on a table menu but not also on a menu at the entrance or on the website of the hospitality business is not acceptable.
  • A requirement that information needs to be ‘clear, legible and prominent’ is unlikely to deliver quality and robust information without specific formatting requirements and/or guidelines.
  • Country-of-origin labelling needs to apply to the widest array of seafood and seafood-derived products, as well as covering the widest possibility of hospitality businesses, including takeaway businesses.
  • There needs to be a wide range of compliance and enforcement tools available to a regulator to support seafood CoOL as well as resources to conduct compliance work.
  • Comprehensive information and consumer education is needed to facilitate consumer awareness and use of seafood CoOL, and that education campaigns need to consider the diversity of consumers and take steps to assist those that ace barriers to accessing, reading, and interpreting information (e.g., people with disabilities, older people, and people from non-English speaking backgrounds).

A copy of the submission can be found here