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COOL Catfish Law Starts 1 July

US - Moves to introduce country of origin labelling on catfish in Mississippi restaurants will become law on 1 July.

Governor Hayley Barbour

Governor Haley Barbour signed the Mississippi House Bill 728 after it was unanimously approved by both the House and Senate.

The new law requires that restaurants serving catfish inform customers as to the origin of the fish by using any of several informational materials offered free-of-charge by The Catfish Institute, the marketing arm of the US Farm-Raised Catfish industry.

Although the law requires only one prominent sign or placard for restaurants serving domestic catfish, those serving imported fish must indicate so on their menus using the same font size and type as the menu's dining options.

"This is possibly the most significant piece of legislation the Mississippi Catfish Industry or, for that matter, the entire U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish Industry has ever had," said Roger Barlow, president of The Catfish Institute.

"Since Mississippi is the leading producer of U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish, other catfish-producing states, including Alabama, Louisiana and Texas, are looking to us for leadership in establishing C.O.O.L. legislation."

"Country of Origin Labeling for all seafood--including catfish--is federally mandated in grocery stores, so it only makes sense to provide Mississippi consumers with this information at restaurants, where 70 percent of all catfish is consumed," Spell said.