NTSC Chief Executive Officer Katherine Winchester told Seafood Directions 2015 delegates that a legislative gap that did not require the food service sector to clearly label the country of origin of the seafood products it sold in restaurants and fast food outlets effectively blocked the seafood industry from reaching its full potential.
Ms Winchester said it was extremely disappointing that a push in the Federal Parliament to address the issue had been blocked in the Senate.
“It is critical that this gap is removed,” she said. “This will require everyone involved in the industry to take responsibility and action at their local level.
“Failing to make this change is to remain trapped in a hoodwink that costs Australia millions of dollars each year and it will continue to limit Australia’s seafood industry to only one part of the available market share – the supermarket/retailer space.”
Ms Winchester said Australia’s commercial fishing and seafood industry supported removal of the food service sector’s current exemption from seafood labelling laws.
“I really hope the penny will drop regarding Country of Origin Labelling,” she said.
“This is one of the most critical issues threatening the future of the seafood industry. If this change does not occur then associated strategies such as forming a national peak body to represent the seafood sector and developing national marketing campaigns will essentially be a waste of money.”