CoOL isn’t cool

Country of Origin Labelling on menus won’t help consumers or foodservice consumers

There is something a bit fishy about the Country of Origin (CoOL) proposals that are being pushed around the various levels of Government right now. We have seen a real rush of these proposals to address the so-called problems of CooL. R&C has moved to dispel some of the real myths in this space through the publication of a report that has been distributed to all MPs and Senators. The first observation in the report is that extending CoOL to the foodservice sector will not result in more Australian seafood being sold. Australia’s wild catch is already at its sustainable limit. Current demand exceeds Australia’s aquaculture production, and will continue to do so into the foreseeable future.

This is fundamentally because Australia’s seafood supply is distinctly different from other food commodities in its unavoidable dependence (72 per cent) on overseas production, processing and packaging. Another real myth is that CoOL will increase information to consumers. Country of origin information that would be displayed on menus, as a result of any mandatory labelling proposal, would be so limited, and so frequently ambiguous, that in many cases it would be just as misleading as it would be informative. The Association is saying that the efforts of the seafood sector should be around promoting Australian product, rather than advocating for mandatory labelling of imported fish and shellfish.

Matteo Pignatelli
President, Restaurant & Catering

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