In a move to protect Louisiana consumers from “the health risks associated chemicals and residues in imported seafood,” the Louisiana Senate unanimously passed House Bill 335 (34-0), requiring restaurants to disclose whether they serve imported shrimp or crawfish.
The bill, authored by Rep. Jerry “Truck” Gisclair (D-Larose), previously passed the Louisiana House unanimously. Then it was signed by Gov. Jon Bel Edwards on June 19.
The bill, which was strongly supported by the American Shrimp Processors Association (ASPA) on behalf of the entire wild-caught domestic shrimp industry, is a major victory for consumer transparency. The U.S. Government does not regulate seafood disclosures at the restaurant level, and Louisiana is taking the lead with this law requiring seafood origin information.
Any food-service establishment serving imported crawfish or shrimp must now display on their menu, or with a paper clip addition to the menu, that the crawfish or shrimp are foreign. Those who do not use a menu will have to display a prominent sign with the same information near the entrance. The Louisiana Department of Health will enforce the provisions of the bill through its food-service health inspection programs.
“The U.S. has very limited capacity to inspect the billions of pounds of imported shrimp entering our borders each year. In 2015, only .1 percent of imported shrimp were inspected for the presence of illegal veterinary drugs used in most foreign aquaculture,” said Dr. David Veal, executive director of the American Shrimp Processors Association. “At the same time, antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a growing public-health problem impacted by persistent exposure to these drugs.”