The Louisiana Legislature passed Act 372, which adds additional requirements for restaurants who serve imported shrimp or crawfish. If your restaurant serves domestic shrimp or crawfish, you are not required to do anything differently than you do today.
If your restaurant serves imported shrimp or crawfish, you must disclose either the country of origin OR that the product is imported adjacent to the menu item or description on the menu. The disclosure must be adjacent to the menu item in similar font size. It can also be paper-clipped to the menu. If you don’t typically use a printed menu, you can post a notice sign near the main entrance noting that crawfish and/or shrimp served originate from a foreign country (18” x 18” at least 36 inches from the floor in English with minimum 1” letters) that is easily visible to patrons. Non-compliance is treated as a violation of the state’s sanitary code and the Louisiana Dept. of Health (LDH) is charged with the enforcement of the provisions of this statute.
The LDH is required to develop the rules that will govern their practices regarding this statute and while the law is in effect, we expect the enforcement to begin gradually and be fully in force once the rules are published. Remember, there are no fines associated with a sanitary code violation.
The LDH has provided us with a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs):
Q. Can I put the word “imported” before the crawfish or shrimp menu item, or does it have to go after?
A. The word imported or the country of origin for the crawfish or shrimp menu item can be before, after, above or below the crawfish or shrimp menu item.
Q. My menu item says Creole Pasta, but it does have shrimp in it. Do I have to label it?
A. If your menu denotes shrimp or crawfish as a menu item, or listed in the product description, it must meet all requirements of ACT 372 R.S. 40:5.5.4
Q. If there is a special entree that is not on the menu, will the food establishment be required to provide information regarding country of origin on any crawfish or shrimp special items?
A. If the special is not on the menu, the facility does not have to provide information on country of origin.
Q. Could the establishment staple the label instead of paperclip?
A. Yes, this would meet the intent of the law by affixing the label next to the menu item. It would have to meet all of the same standards for location, font size, and shade required on menu labeling.
Q. What about facilities that only serve drive-thru? Would the outside menu have to be updated?
A. When a facility only has a drive thru menu board, the establishment must provide required labeling in one of the following ways: 1.) Add the required labeling adjacent to the menu item, or 2.) apply the required labeling by affixing to the menu board. These labels must meet all requirements outlined in the law. Additionally, the signage requirements for facilities that do not provide printed menus can be used. The signage must be positioned adjacent to the menu board and state “certain crawfish and shrimp originate from a foreign country.” The sign must be at least 18 inches tall and 18 inches wide, written in the English language, 1 inch in size, and not less than 36 inches from the ground.
Q. If I purchase my gumbo pre-made and labeled from a manufacturing company, do I have to find out if the shrimp and crawfish in the packaging is from the U.S. or its country of origin?
A. If the product is purchased from a food manufacturer fully prepared and only reheated, and/or served at the restaurant, the labeling requirements must meet the mandated Federal labeling laws. If the product is labeled as a product of the U.S., then menu labeling is not required.