Federal Member for Braddon Justine Keay has used a speech in federal parliament to call for Tasmania to be a trial site for country of origin labelling for seafood in the food services sector.
Speaking during the debate on Imported Food Control Legislation Ms Keay told parliament, “Tasmania was ideally placed to be a trial site for country of origin labelling for seafood sold in the food services sector.
“The Tasmanian seafood industry has been calling for this change for some time to capatilise on the Tasmanian brand and give consumers an informed choice about the seafood they are eating.
“While fresh seafood must be labelled there is no requirement for cooked or pre prepared seafood.
“The industry is rightly concerned that a quality Tasmanian seafood product has to compete in restaurants, hotels and supermarkets against a cheaper imported product.
“Consumers have no real idea where this product comes from, what safety standards are in place or whether the seafood has been sustainably harvested.
Justine Keay said, “The Commonwealth Government has convened a Working Group to investigate the compulsory country of origin labelling for all seafood.
“Tasmania is the largest producer of seafood by value in Australia and our seafood is nationally and internationally renowned as being of the highest quality.
“The industry is worth almost a billion dollars to Tasmania’s economy supporting over 3,400 direct jobs and an estimated 17,000 people in some form of seafood related employment.
“Mandatory country of origin labelling for seafood has been in effect in the Northern Territory since 2008
“Information contained in the 2017 Seafood Origin Working Group paper states under the Northern Territory systems, local consumers prefer local seafood, over Australian seafood which in turn is preferred over imports.
“A trial of country of origin labelling will give Tasmanian consumers a choice.
“A choice between a quality Tasmanian or Australian product
“Or if they choose, a choice for a lower value, lower quality imported product.
“I have today written to the new Assistant Minister for Science, Jobs and Innovation Senator Zed Seselja recommending the working group conclude a Tasmanian trial is a good way to assess the social economic benefit of country of origin labelling.
WEDNESDAY 14 FEBRUARY 2017
CONTACT JOHN DOWLING - 0417 575 148