New regulation mandates Alabama restaurants to disclose origin of fish and shrimp

Alabama lawmakers on Wednesday passed a bill that mandates restaurants to disclose whether the seafood they serve in their dishes is sourced domestically or imported.

According to Brown, the commercial seafood industry in Alabama plays a crucial role in the economy. With the influx of foreign caught products in the U.S. market, it is imperative that we provide our support, protection, and promotion to this industry.

“We can promote the use of seafood caught in Alabama and the U.S. and provide consumers with better information about the food they eat by mandating the disclosure of whether seafood is domestic or imported.”

Advertisements for seafood products and dishes sold by food service establishments will need to comply with the new law, which mandates the inclusion of specific information. Additionally, restaurants will be required to disclose whether their fish or shrimp products are farm-raised or caught in the wild.

Britt and Tuberville are actively working together to protect the farm-raised catfish industry.

The Alabama Retail Association states that the bill does not affect retailers who are already obligated to disclose the country of origin under federal law. This includes grocery stores, supermarkets, and club warehouses, which are subject to the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act and must adhere to the federal country-of-origin labeling law. However, restaurants and in-store delis are exempt from the federal law and would therefore need to comply with Brown’s legislation if it is signed into law by the governor.

Restaurants and in-store delis selling fish primarily for off-premises consumption will need to display the country of origin or indicate that the product was imported. This information should be presented in the same font size and color as the fish being sold. Alternatively, they can post a sign measuring at least 8.5 x 11 inches on a prominent wall near the fish and shrimp display. The sign should be positioned at least 3 feet from the floor and use a type size of 1 inch or larger.

Restaurants can now include information about the country of origin or whether the fish is imported on their menus. The bill specifies that this information should be listed in the same location as the fish sold, using the same font size and color. Alternatively, the notification can be attached to the menu using a paper clip. If a restaurant does not typically use menus, the information can be displayed on an 8.5 by 11 sign near the main entrance, ensuring it is visible to all patrons.

The State Health Officer holds the responsibility of enforcing the law and has the power to impose civil penalties, including monetary fines, to ensure that everyone follows the rules. Governor Kay Ivey will now review and consider the legislation before signing it.

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MBS Staff
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