Response To House Bill On Restaurant Labeling of Country of Origin



House Bill NO. 335, HLS 19RS-881House Bill NO. 335, HLS 19RS-881

In Louisiana, seafood is an integral part of our society, culture, and lifestyle. House Bill 335, HLS 19RS-881 is designed to protect and keep consumers of restaurant meals aware of what they are eating and its country of origin. Many restaurants have opted to use imports in their dishes to try to lower overhead while at the same time using marketing and advertising that envokes the usage of American seafood. The use of imported seafood, specifically shrimp and crawfish, has the ability to harm the consumer and is not socially or environmentally responsible. Out of all seafood imported in fiscal year 2015 the Food and Drug Administration inspected approximately 0.1 percent of all seafood imported for the presence of banned antibiotics (seafoodsource.com). The use of antibiotic injections in shrimp overseas that is subsequently imported is extensive. These antibiotics are used to aid in raised production numbers and weight possibly leading to medical issues in humans upon consumption. In addition to health concerns, there are issues of forced and slave labor. Most countries do not have laws similar to the United States that are designed to protect workers from abuse by their employers. Practically all of the countries that export shrimp and crawfish have deplorable working conditions for their employees.

House Bill 335, HLS 19RS-881 mandates restaurants to make consumers aware of the origin of the shrimp or crawfish they are eating. The objective of mandating restaurants in Louisiana to inform customers of the country of origin of their seafood is to assist the consumer in making educated health, social, and environmental decisions on whether they should buy and eat the seafood offered at that restaurant or find a superior alternative.

All processing plants, wholesale distributors, and grocers in the United States are already required to label where their seafood comes from and how it is caught. This bill is designed to merely allow the consumer to make an informed decision at the dinner table.

Sources

Blank, Christine. “Report: U.S. Should Step up Seafood Import Testing.” SeafoodSource Official Media, 10 Oct. 2017, www.seafoodsource.com/features/report-us-should-step-up-seafood-import-testing.