NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Restaurants selling imported seafood now have to disclose where it comes from, as a new seafood labeling law took effect Sunday (Sept. 1), requiring restaurants to let customers know if their seafood is from out of the country.
There weren’t visible signs posted around the French Quarter Monday, but some restaurant managers like Chad Penedo of the Court of Two Sisters, said they’re not worried about the new law, because they only buy their seafood from local vendors.
“For me, I was happy about it. We want locals to support us, and in exchange we should support locals as well,” Penedo said. “We are already in a full domestic shellfish. We serve only domestic shellfish,” Penedo said.
Cornet Sales Promoter Khater Salomon shared Penedo’s sentiments.
“Our shrimp are the big, beautiful jumbo shrimp that you can’t get anywhere else, and our coastlines are just filled with all this wonderful seafood. Our blackened redfish, we can’t get it anywhere else, so it’s gotta come from the Gulf of Mexico,” Salomon said.
Some businesses said they're willing to pay a little more to support local fishermen.
"The shrimp, they're beautiful, they're local. So it's always worth it to have a little extra supply, or even if you have to pay a little bit more. If the shortages come in, we have them, and it's a lot better. You don't have to deal with the bland taste that comes from overseas," Salomon said.
Penedo said it’s not significantly cheaper for them to get their supply from out of the country.
“It’s not always that much more cost effective. When we have the luxury, we can choose a few different providers that we use to purchase from, and it keeps costs in line to where we need it to be,” Penedo said.
The Louisiana Department of Health will be responsible for making sure restaurants are compliant with the law during regular inspections.
“I can’t really see the Board of Health sending in mystery shoppers per se, they didn’t say it was this, and then they’re coming in and checking your inventory the next day. I think it’s going to be hard to enforce,” Penedo said.