Parliamentary committee pushes for CoOL seafood declaration
A report released by the Australian Parliament’s joint standing committee on Northern Australia last week is recommending that all food-service industry providers be forced to declare the country of origin (CoOL) of seafood served.
Currently under Standard 1.2.11 of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code, country of origin labelling is required for uncooked fish or seafood but fish and seafood sold in restaurants, cafes and other food service premises are exempt. However, in the Northern Territory, food service providers must reveal fish or seafood country-of-origin.
The committee recommends the Northern Territory scheme be extended nationally.
The report from the Parliamentary committee called the ‘Scaling Up’ report stated that its research revealed “there was widespread agreement amongst aquaculture producers that removing the exemption from country of origin labelling for the food service industry would stimulate growth in the industry.”
“The primary benefit for domestic producers is that country of original labelling would increase their ability to compete with imported products that generally have lower production costs,” the report stated.
The ‘Scaling Up’ report included a number of other recommendations. These include the following:
- The Department of the Environment and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority should support the Queensland Government in identifying suitable areas to implement aquaculture development zones.
- The Australian Government should provide funding assistance for the establishment of a pest and disease diagnosis facility in northern Queensland.
- The Australian Government should provide funding assistance for developing road and port infrastructure to service the Kimberley Aquaculture Development Zone and Project Sea Dragon in the Northern Territory subject to establishing a positive cost-benefit analysis.