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Bill would require stores, restaurants provide seafood origin information

Alabama Rep. Chip Brown, R-Hollingers Island, wants customers in restaurants and grocery stores to know where the seafood they’re buying originated. 

“The seafood industry is essential to the economy throughout Alabama’s Gulf Coast region, and with foreign caught products flooding the U.S. market, we must take every step to both support it and protect it,” Brown said in a press release this week.

Brown is sponsoring House Bill 66, requiring restaurants and grocery stores to display the country of origin of the seafood they sell. 

“By requiring disclosure of the country of origin for seafood, we can encourage the use of products caught in Alabama while ensuring that consumers are better informed about the food they consume,” Brown said.

Currently, state law requires seafood suppliers to inform restaurants and grocery stores about the origins of their seafood, but there is no law regarding the disclosure by food service organizations. 

In restaurants, Brown’s proposal would mandate the country of origin of seafood to be labeled on markings in plain view. While in grocery stores, seafood labels or bins containing the product will require the import location. Similarly, the bill will mandate the organizations to disclose if fish and shrimp products are caught in the wild or farm-raised.

Advertisements of seafood products will be required to disclose the country of origin. Infractions of the proposed bill include fines.

Businesses that don’t comply with the proposed law would face civil penalties, including $1,000 fines for repeat offenders.

The legislative session starts Tuesday.

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