FILE - Boiled crawfish

The Louisiana House voted 99-0 Tuesday to require restaurants to inform customers when the shrimp or crawfish they serve is of foreign origin, despite opposition from the Louisiana Restaurant Association and concerns raised by some members about how the rule would be enforced.

Restaurants could inform customers verbally and would not have to change their menus, supporters said.

While supporters hope the measure benefits Louisiana shrimpers and crawfish farmers, author Rep. Jerry Gisclair, D-Larose, said his goal was to protect consumers from health dangers of imported shrimp and crawfish.

“I think I have a right to know what I’m putting into my body when I go to a restaurant,” he said.

Supporters said the Department of Health would monitor compliance along with their usual health inspections of restaurants.

Also on Tuesday, the House Health and Welfare Committee voted 6-4 for House Bill 568 to shift oversight over the state’s long-delayed medical marijuana program from the Department of Agriculture and Forestry to the Department of Health.

Proponents are frustrated with a lack of progress getting the product to patients, though at least one lawmaker worried that changing oversight might slow progress even further.

The current estimate of when product will be available is next month, though timelines have been pushed back before, with the agriculture department and vendor GB Sciences Louisiana blaming each other for the delays.

Staff Reporter

David Jacobs is a Baton Rouge-based award-winning journalist who has written about government, politics, business and culture in Louisiana for almost 15 years. He joined The Center Square in 2018.