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Something fishy

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For more information contact Jeremy Roberts on 0433 620 850 or Nick Xenophon on 0411 626 677

29 / 9 / 2014

Senate inquiry into seafood labelling today could trigger big reforms, as currently there is:

SOMETHING FISHY A Senate inquiry into seafood labelling could trigger big reforms impacting not only on the industry, but consumers as well. The inquiry, by the Senate’s Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee will be held at the Exhibition Room at the Sydney Fish Market at Piermont from 9am today. It was instigated by Independent Senator for South Australia Nick Xenophon. It will examine current labelling requirements (including country of origin) and sustainability issues. In particular it will consider whether current labelling laws allow domestic seafood producers to compete on even terms with imported seafood products. "There's that saying 'we are what we eat' and it follows we deserve to know where the fish has come from, and what's in it," said Nick. "A number of the submissions to the inquiry strongly support the national adoption of Northern Territory laws which require restaurants and takeaway outlets to disclose whether the seafood they use is local or imported. That would be a good first step." The inquiry will hear from the Australian Prawn Farmers Association (at 9:40am) whose submission contains disturbing claims of imported prawns containing high levels of antibiotics, being passed-off as Australian seafood. The association in its submission states: "not only is the antibiotic resistance message not being addressed, the potential for customers to be ripped-off by exorbitant pricing from product substitution of cheaper overseas product poses a major human health and pest risk". "To put it bluntly, Australian prawn farmers are getting a raw deal from our regulators who are failing to act. This must change urgently," said Nick Senator Xenophon has foreshadowed that following the inquiry he will move for reform of seafood labelling based on NT laws and effective enforcement of antibiotic use in imported seafood.