Outspoken government senator, Ian Macdonald, wants restaurants and fast food outlets to be forced to reveal where their fish comes from.
“You do not know whether it comes from Australia or Vietnam or the sewers of some southeast Asian country,” Senator Ian Macdonald told parliament on Wednesday.
The senator hopes rules requiring supermarkets to identify whether fish is Australian or imported will be extended to restaurants in the not-too-distant future but said he understood Food Standards Australia was the “problem”.
Independent senator, Nick Xenophon, said he was concerned the bi-national government agency jeopardised 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 told the Senate.
“In a supermarket, you know where fish comes – 20 metres down the road, you’ve got no idea.”
Senator Xenophon, as well as Labor and the Greens, is concerned the laws allow the FSANZ board to become imbalanced.
Greens senator Rachel Siewert said the changes could allow industry to have more say, amid concerns it already had too much input.
Rural Health Minister Fiona Nash said the intent of the bill was to retain balance on the board and open up the pool of potential candidates.