2005 Regular Session
To: Public Health and Welfare
By: Senator(s) Gollott
AN ACT TO PROVIDE THAT FARM-RAISED AND WILD SHELLFISH USED FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION BE LABELED TO SHOW COUNTRY OF ORIGIN; TO DEFINE CERTAIN TERMS; TO PROVIDE PENALTIES FOR VIOLATIONS OF LABELING REQUIREMENTS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. The Legislature finds and declares that the consumer's right to know the source or origin of shellfish products for human consumption is paramount and essential to the health, safety, and well-being of the people of this state. Providing notice to the public of the country of origin of farm-raised and wild shellfish is compelling.
SECTION 2. For purposes of this article, the following terms shall have the meaning ascribed herein unless the context otherwise requires:
(a) "Commissioner" means the Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce of the State of Mississippi.
(b) "Direct retail sale" means the sale of shellfish directly to the consumer.
(c) "Distributor" means any person offering for sale, exchange or barter any shellfish destined for direct retail sale in the State of Mississippi.
(d) "Label" means a display of written, printed or graphic matter upon or affixed to the container in which shellfish is offered for direct retail sale.
(e) "Labeling" means all labels and other written, printed or graphic matter upon a shellfish product, or any of its containers or wrappers, offered for direct retail sale.
(f) "Person" includes any individual, partnership, corporation and association or other legal entity.
(g) "Processor" means any person engaged in handling, storing, preparing, manufacturing, packing or holding shellfish .
(h) "Retailer" means any person offering for sale shellfish to individual consumers and representing the last sale prior to human consumptionexceptthat restaurants and other eating establishments are hereby excluded.
(i) "Shellfish" means crab, lobster, oyster, shrimp, clam and scallops in the wild and farm-raised.
(j) "Wholesaler" means any person offering for sale any shellfish destined for direct retail sale in the State of Mississippi.
SECTION 3. (1) No farm-raised or wild shellfish shall be offered for direct retail sale for human consumption by a processor, distributor or retailer unless the shellfish is specifically labeled to inform consumers at the final point of sale of the country of origin of the shellfish.
(2) For purposes of this section, the United States is the country of origin for farm-raised shellfish hatched, raised, harvested and processed in the United States and wild shellfish that were harvested in the waters of the United States, a state or territory of the United States and processed in a state or territory of the United States.
(3) The commissioner may promulgate rules and regulations as may be necessary for the enforcement of this act.
SECTION 4. All distributors, processors or wholesalers of shellfish, distributing or selling shellfish, shall provide information to each person, firm or corporation to whom they distribute or sell shellfish for resale as to the country of origin of such shellfish.
SECTION 5. (1) Any person who violates any provision of this article for which no other penalty is provided by this article shall upon conviction be subject to a fine of not more than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00).
(2) The commissioner may apply for and the court may grant a temporary or permanent injunction restraining any person from violating or continuing to violate any of the provisions of this article or any rule or regulation promulgated under this article, notwithstanding the existence of other remedies at law. The injunction shall be issued without bond.
(3) It shall be the duty of each prosecuting attorney to whom any violation is reported to cause appropriate proceeding to be instituted and prosecuted in a court of competent jurisdiction without delay.
SECTION 6. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2005.