Oct 11, 2012 4:42 PM by AP
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, in coordination with the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, LSU AgCenter, Louisiana SeaGrant, Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board and fisheries industry leaders, launched the Louisiana Certified Seafood Program this week. This origin-based certification program aims to build a unified brand that will attract not only consumers, but also food service and seafood distribution buyers who want to ensure they are sourcing the best tasting seafood in the world - Louisiana seafood.
"Consumers are paying more attention to their seafood choices, particularly where it's from and how it's sourced. People are demanding transparency in the seafood industry, so we're giving it to them," explained LDWF Assistant Secretary Randy Pausina. "This program is three years in the making and demonstrates our Department's strong commitment to ensuring Louisiana's delicious seafood will continue to be recognized as the world's finest."
The program is a direct result of recommendations from the Louisiana Shrimp Task Force, created by Governor Jindal in 2009, to establish rules and guidelines throughout the seafood supply chain enabling the state to certify that "Louisiana Certified Seafood" is taken, landed and processed in Louisiana.
"We encourage buying and promoting Louisiana products whether it's in stores, farmer's markets or restaurants. Our goal is to make sure Louisiana residents seek home grown products to keep our industry strong. People at home and abroad want our produce and seafood because the quality speaks for itself," said LDAF Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M.
The Louisiana Seafood Certification program targets Louisiana fishermen, processors, dock owners, grocers and restaurants, to showcase and more importantly brand Louisiana seafood. Across the globe, people are familiar with "geographically-based" branding including Maine Lobster and Idaho Potatoes. In the coming years, we hope Louisiana wild-caught shrimp, oyster, crabs and finfish will be synonymous with our great state and the Louisiana Certified Seafood Brand.
"Louisiana's seafood is recognized for its world-class taste and quality," said DHH Secretary Bruce D. Greenstein. "This certification stamp lets consumers know they're getting authentic Louisiana seafood that is held to the highest standards and strictest inspections in the world."
Program goals include:
"Through our current marketing efforts, chefs and consumers across the country are learning the superior taste and quality of Louisiana seafood," said Ewell Smith, LSPMB executive director. "We are excited to work with the LDWF and other partners to bring customers the guarantee that they are purchasing authentic Louisiana seafood."
How to participate?
All commercially licensed fishermen automatically qualify for the program.
This program is VOLUNTARY for docks, processors, dealers, grocers and restaurants, who can apply to receive a Louisiana Certified Seafood permit.
Fresh Product dealers, docks, and processors must complete a brief online training. Grocers and restaurants do not need to complete the online training, but are required to complete the application.
"Louisiana restaurants have long served the bounty of fresh seafood from the rich waters of Louisiana and the Gulf, but until now, a certification program had not been developed," said Stan Harris, President/CEO of the Louisiana Restaurant Association. "Shrimp, crab, oysters, crawfish and finfish have held prized positioning on restaurant menus and have been the ingredients for which Louisiana has become known for worldwide."
More information on training along with application forms may be found at Certified.LouisianaSeafood.com.
Completed form can be mailed to:
Louisiana Wild Seafood Certification Program
P.O. Box 1870
Gray, LA 70359
Participants in the program may choose to be featured on the Certified Louisiana Seafood website as a provider of Louisiana Certified Seafood, in an effort to encourage additional business.
For more information, contact Rene LeBreton at 504-286-8745 or Jason Froeba at 225-765-0121.
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