A former Federal Minister has called for strict national norms to force restaurants and fast food outlets into disclosing the source and origin of fish they are serving to customers.
Speaking in parliament, senator Ian Macdonald said there is no certainty on the origin of fish in Aussie restaurants and fast food outlets, reports 9 News. “You do not know whether it comes from Australia or Vietnam or the sewers of some south-east Asian country,” he told parliament.
The senator called for extension of the food-origin rules to restuarnts that are currently applicable to supermarkets. The supermarkets have to identify the fish-source as Australian or foreign. Similarly, Macdonald wanted immediate extension of the same set of rules to restaurants. But he blamed Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) as the main “problem” in implementing such rules.
The former minister raised the issue during the debate on the senate bill that sought to make technical changes to FSANZ. Independent senator Nick Xenophon also found fault with FSANZ. He said the bi-national government agency is undermining Australia’s sovereignty.
“My problem with FSANZ is that it can be relied upon by the government of the day as a reason not to do something as obvious as tell a restaurant or takeaway shop’s customers whether the fish they’re purchasing for immediate consumption is Australian or not,” he said.
According to Xenophon, in a supermarket, the source of fish is known. But “20 metres down the road, you’ve got no idea,” he quipped. Meanwhile, FSANZ denied media reports that said Australian supermarkets are the ‘missing link’ in egg-related salmonella protection.
In a statement, the agency said there is no food safety rule that requires whole eggs to be refrigerated at the retail level. But retailers can refrigerate eggs for their own reasons such as preserving the firmness of the yolk or for reducing the spoilage, reports Food Magazine.
FSANZ claimed it had a thorough risk assessment of egg production and processing in Australia. The study covered the entire supply chain and looked into factors that normally heighten the risk of salmonella contamination. The statement asserted that whole uncracked eggs need no refrigeration at retail. This is because the variants of salmonella that contaminate the interior of eggs are not active in Australian laying flocks.