Alabama eyes source-disclosure requirements for seafood

Under a bill introduced this week, restaurants would be required to disclose the countries of origin for all seafood that's sold, along with whether it was wild-caught or farmed.
Alabama has a robust seafood industry. | Photo: Shutterstock

Restaurants in Alabama would be required to reveal the origin of most seafoods on their menu under a bill heading for consideration by the state House of Representatives.

The measure would also require all foodservice establishments to indicate whether the fin or shellfish was farm-raised or wild-caught.

The country where the fish originated would have to be disclosed via either menus or placards on the wall. The same channels would be used for differentiating between farm-raised and wild-caught proteins.

The information would also be required on any advertisement of a restaurant's seafood options.

The bill is intended to protect the state’s vibrant seafood industry from foreign competition. Consumers would know when they were supporting local fishermen and when their money was going toward suppliers from outside the United States.

Alabama’s seafood business generated $560 million in sales and employed 11,476 people in 2020, according to the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium, a state and federal partnership aimed at protecting domestic commercial fishing.

Restaurants that failed to heed the requirement would be subject to fines that have yet to be determined.

Products that contain processed seafood, such as a heat-and-serve crab dip, are exempted, as are seafoods served in hospitals.

The bill, HB66, was introduced on Tuesday. It is scheduled for an initial reading to the House on Feb. 6.

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