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Louisiana restaurants blame lack of local shrimp for challenges with new labeling law

Several business owners told a local news site there is too much demand, not enough supply.

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A new Louisiana law requiring the state's restaurants and other foodservice establishments to label shrimp and crawfish with a country-of-origin label on menus is proving challenging for restaurant owners who say the local seafood supply is simply not enough to meet demand.

Several restaurant owners--who were cited by food inspectors over the past month for using either imported shrimp or crawfish to supplement local supply--told The Advocate they received a violation for not disclosing the use of foreign products on their menu, despite also using a local option whenever it was available.

Using domestic shrimp alone provides Louisiana restaurants with about 80 percent less product than what they would have using solely imported shrimp, according to data from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).

The most recent data for US domestic shrimp shows there was a catch of 128,491 metric tons in 2017--there is no data yet for 2018. Gulf shrimp accounted for around 73 percent, or 98,331 metric tons, of that product. That's compared to 696,842 metric tons of shrimp imported from other countries into the United States in 2018 alone.

The Louisiana Department of Health conducted more than 3,200 routine inspections of full-service restaurants between Sept. 1 and Sept. 27, according to the news site.

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