Australia to consider law for strict seafood labelling

[InKunming--Sister Cities]  A petition calling for the mandatory labelling of seafood in Australia and featuring more than 46,000 signatures, has been handed to the Australian Senate.

The petition, initiated by well known television chef Pete Evans, is designed to stop the deliberately misleading labelling of fish and also to make Australians aware of the quality of their local produce.

University of Melbourne marine and fisheries expert Dr John Ford told Xinhua the reason for the proposed change is to "ensure customers in restaurants can know where the fish came from" and to "turn into law what the code of conduct already says."

With imported seafood taking up 70 percent of the market share in Australia, the new law would help Australians "better appreciate the quality we have here," Ford said Friday.

There is currently no legal requirement in Australia to label where the seafood that is served at restaurants is sourced from except for Northern Territory.

Northern Territory introduced mandatory labelling in 2008 and has been received with a lot of support and a lot of positivity.

The move will also uphold the strong standards in Australia where there are "very high food safety standards" and will ensure they get the highest quality products.

The country of origin will be the primary detail on the proposed new label, with the possibility of it being expanded to include other details like the method of catching.

It will also help customers to know "Why sometimes Australia seafood sometimes has a premium in price," with the customer knowing if they are purchasing a local product and supporting the local industry.

The Senate, Australia's upper parliamentary house, voted down a private bill on fish labelling changes in August that had support from independent and Greens party senators who are likely to re-introduce the bill following the petition.

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