The entire seafood industry

If signed by Sept. 30, it would require all seafood sold in California — either via retail or restaurants — to be labelled by the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Seafood List’s common name list, which separates commonly known market names for fish into 1,827 terms.

So far, the California Fisheries & Seafood Institute, California Grocers Association, National Retail Federation are among a list of groups writing governor Brown to plead for a veto.

“Simply stated, SB1138 is unnecessary, unworkable, and will make seafood labeling more confusing, not less,” California Fisheries and Seafood Institute president Kevin Joyce writes in a letter to the governor dated Sept. 8. “The bill proposes to fix fraudulent thus unlawful labeling of seafood with a complicated scheme of labeling protocols that will require the entire seafood industry to label historic market names with names that will be more confusing for both the industry and the consumer.”

Yet the intent, argues senator Padilla, is to address “the growing problem of seafood mislabeling by making sure that seafood is labeled accurately.”

Yet multiple industry groups, including the National Fisheries Institute (NFI), argue that making seafood labelled “accurately” — in the bill’s definition, by its common name — will actually only make it more difficult to fight seafood mislabeling.

“It doesn’t do anything to prevent fraud,” NFI spokesperson Gavin Gibbons told Undercurrent. “The Food Drug and Cosmetic Act says this food is adulterated food which is illegal. The laws are there, we just need to focus on enforcing them.”

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