Red Rooster uses Thai fish in Barramundi Burger

Posted by Janice Wong on 11th February 2010

Red Rooster’s latest offering, the Wild Barramundi Burger, has drawn criticism for what some see as misleading advertising. The burger contains cheaper imported South-East Asian barramundi, known in the region as Asian Seabass.

“Barramundi. The most prized of all fish. Sought after by the finest restaurants and the keenest fisherman. Of course, the secret is knowing the best spot,” reads the marketing copy for the burger. In this case, the best spot is South-East Asia, and the quality is in question.

Executive officer of the Australian Barramundi Farmers Association, Graham Dalton, expressed outrage over what he sees as deceptive advertising of an “iconic Australian fish”. The word ‘barramundi’ comes from the indigenous Australian language of the Rockhampton area, meaning ‘large-scaled river fish’.  Dalton thinks that customers purchasing the product likely believed it to be Australian.

The organisation has called for the rest of Australia to follow the Northern Territory’s lead in seafood labelling, which requires all fish retailers to identify the country or countries of origin for any product or dish advertised.

While Red Rooster maintains that the South-East Asian barramundi is quality, Dalton has concerns that imported fish is not subject to the same stringent quality requirements as Australian fish. “Our barramundi meets the highest environmental and regulatory standards anywhere, our products shows zero on (chemical) residues.” Barramundi farmer and industry spokesperson Marty Phillips agrees. “We’ve got very strict environmental and food safety conditions and there are all sorts of stuff that we need to comply with, which isn’t necessarily the case over there.”