Restaurants, cafes, and clubs will soon have to specify the origins of seafood on menus, with the government announcing new measures for the industry.
The decision was made last week after a meeting of Consumer Affairs Ministers that has resulted in the introduction of the Australian-Imported-Mixed (AIM) model, which ensures consumers will know whether the seafood they’re eating is from Australia or overseas.
The model means businesses will need to state whether seafood is A (Australian); I (imported); or M (mixed origin).
“The Australian-Imported-Mixed model is a simple and practical approach that strikes the right balance between informing consumers while minimising costs to businesses,” said Assistant Minister for Manufacturing and Assistant Minister for Trade, Senator Tim Ayres.
Just over 60 per cent of seafood purchased in the country is imported, and until now, there has been a lack of accessible information for consumers ordering seafood in hospitality settings.
The (AIM) model will be introduced in 2025 after a “suitable transition period and an educational campaign”, with the hospitality industry set to be issued with advice in the coming months to help operators adjust to the requirements.
“Adopting Country of Origin Labelling (CoOL) legislation for seafood sold in foodservice will enhance consumer awareness, support the Australian seafood industry, create jobs, and have positive economic impacts, as evidenced by a cost-benefit analysis conducted on behalf of the Australian Government,” said Seafood Industry Australia CEO Veronica Papacosta.
“With 62 per cent of seafood consumed in Australia being imported, it is imperative that consumers dining out have access to clear and accurate information about the origin of the seafood they are served. This information is critical for supply chain transparency and informed choices.”
Hospitality businesses are not required to make any changes yet, with guidance to be provided in 2024.