In comments filed today with the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”), the Southern Shrimp Alliance expressed support for the agency’s proposed “Made in the U.S.A.” regulations. The proposed regulations further formalize the FTC’s existing rules regarding when direct or implied “Made in the U.S.A.” claims may be presented to consumers.
The Southern Shrimp Alliance comments explained that the country-of-origin labeling rules administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Customs and Border Protection do not require restaurants or food-service establishments to disclose the country-of-origin of seafood products, including shrimp, that they offer for sale. While some states have adopted rules requiring the country-of-origin of certain seafood products to be disclosed by restaurants to customers, there is no broad requirement that restaurants do so.
Importantly, the FTC’s regulations would not impose any additional obligations on restaurants. However, the agency’s new regulations would help to clarify that restaurants may not use false and misleading labeling to market imported seafood as domestic. Some restaurants continue to label imported shrimp on their menus as “Gulf shrimp” or under other terminology that misleads customers into believing that they are purchasing domestic shrimp. Such deceptive practices not only cheat customers, but further undermine consumers’ confidence in valid country-of-origin menu labeling claims from restaurants that do proudly source domestic seafood.
The Southern Shrimp Alliance encourages members of the U.S. commercial seafood industry to tell the Federal Trade Commission the importance of “Made in the U.S.A.” labeling rules to domestic food producers. Comments may be filed on the FTC’s notice of proposed rulemaking by clicking on the following link: https://beta.regulations.gov/commenton/FTC-2020-0056-0001.
Read the Federal Trade Commission’s July 16, 2020 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking relating to “Made in USA” and other unqualified U.S.-origin claims on product labels: https://www.shrimpalliance.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/FTC-MUSA-NPRM.pdf
Read the Southern Shrimp Alliance’s September 10, 2020 comments to the Federal Trade Commission here: https://www.shrimpalliance.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/SSA-Comment-on-Made-in-USA-NPRM.pdf