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Seafood-Origin Labels Mandatory in US from Monday

Date: 29-Mar-05
Country: USA

Under the law, shoppers must be told the origin of fish and shellfish offered for sale and whether they were raised on a farm or caught in the wild. Vendors can put the information on each package or on signs in their display cases.

Proponents say the labels will satisfy a basic "right to know" for consumers and distinguish US products from foreign competitors on the grocery shelf. The food industry fears a mountain of costly paperwork to prove the source of seafood.

The 2002 labeling law initially called on the Agriculture Department to issue rules for mandatory country-of-origin labels on red meat, seafood, fruits, vegetables and peanuts by Sept. 30, 2004. Congress has delayed the requirement for two years for all of the products except for seafood.

When USDA issued the seafood rules last Oct. 4, it gave the industry six months to get ready for the new system and to clear out unlabeled inventory. Most fish is caught during the winter and spring, USDA said.

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Reuters
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