If we are what we eat, I am pretty sure that most of us would like to assume that we are eating something homegrown and that benefits our unique way of life in Louisiana. Unfortunately, that is not the case about 90% of the time.

A new law is set to be enforced beginning September first that would require restaurants that sell shrimp and crawfish to show proof of country of origin of those food items. Or at least inform you that the products were not produced in the United States.

In order for an establishment to be in compliance with the new regulation, the country of origin notice may be paper clipped to current menus adjacent to the food item listed on the menu. That information must be in the same font, size, and shade as the item listed on the menu.

Other stipulations required for foodservice outlets to be in compliance with the new law include:

  • Provide a sign posted at the main entrance to the establishment that states: “Certain crawfish and shrimp originate from a foreign country.”
  • The sign must be at least 18 inches tall and 18 inches wide, written in English.
  • Lettering must not be less than 1 inch in size.
  • The sign must be posted in a conspicuous location not less than 36 inches from the floor.

According to the U.S. Accountability Office, 90% of the seafood consumed in the United States is imported. Now for the scary statistic, according to the FDA, only 2% of those imports are inspected for any issues. That means those shrimp and crawfish you might have been consuming could have been harvested, stored, shipped, and raised in conditions that are well below the standards of the United States.

The new law was passed by the Louisiana Legislature and signed by Governor Edwards earlier this year.