A legal seafood market is struggling with the legal restrictions placed on its operations and has not been able to get the necessary supply to meet the demand, according to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
In a letter to the company, ASIC commissioner Richard Bickley said it has been “unsuccessful” in finding a supplier for the fish that is used in the restaurant chain’s dishes.
“Given that there are approximately 100 Australian licensed processors of the cod we are concerned that we have a significant supply issue,” Mr Bickling wrote.
“It is a challenging and difficult situation for the Covingtons [sic] to manage.”
The letter also said it had requested the company provide the ASIC with a list of all licensed processors and the products they use to meet its supply requirements.
The letter was released on Wednesday in response to a question on the matter by Fairfax Media.
It states that Covingons Seafoods, which is based in Covingon, Queensland, had about 100 processors in Australia that supply a range of seafoods, including cod, halibut, sardines, shrimp, mackerel, macadamias and swordfish.
“The Covingson company has identified two suppliers for its seafood products and that two of these suppliers are licensed in Australia and are located in Queensland,” ASIC said in a statement.
The regulator has requested the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to consider ASIC’s request and assess the extent to which the Covedtons is compliant with Australian regulations and the food safety requirements. “
While these two processors are licensed, there is a risk that they may not be able to meet Covingans demand in the foreseeable future.”
The regulator has requested the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to consider ASIC’s request and assess the extent to which the Covedtons is compliant with Australian regulations and the food safety requirements.
“We need to understand whether the Covesons seafood products meet Australian standards for food safety, the Food Standards Australia (FSA) Food Safety and Standards Act and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Labelling Regulations,” the ASIC letter said.
“Covesons Seafotex’s seafood products are not available to Australian customers.”
Mr Bickle said ASIC was “encouraged” by Covingmans Seafood’s response and said it was looking at all the information available about its operations.
“At this stage ASIC is confident that the Civetons Seafood is compliant and in compliance with Australian food safety standards and the requirements of the FSA Food Labeling Regulations,” he said.
The company did not respond to a request for comment on the ASIC’s letter.
Covingtons Seafoors website states that its seafoods are produced at three Australian licensed fish processors and have been in operation since 2014.
The website also states that the company has a “worldwide network of suppliers that provide the industry with a wide range of quality fish, shellfish, products, products that are sold to retailers, restaurants, and consumers across Australia”.
Mr Bicker said ASIC had asked Covingts Seafood to provide ASIC with “any other information, such as any product, supplier, product lines, or locations, which would assist ASIC in establishing whether it is in compliance” with Australian and international food safety regulations.
“ASIC is not requesting that Coveson Seafood comply with any of the Australian food labelling regulations, but would like to know if Covesos seafood products or other Coveston products meet any of these requirements,” Mr Kettle said.
Covesson Seafood has a seafood business in Coveton.
A Covingns Seafood spokesperson said it “has been working closely with ASIC and the ACCC” to find a solution.
“As we stated in the letter, we are in compliance and are confident that our seafood products have been produced in accordance with the Australian Food Safety Standards Act,” the spokesperson said.
A spokeswoman for the Seafood Institute of Australia said the company had not been contacted about ASIC’s investigation.
“There is a huge supply of fish in the market, so there is not a huge demand for our products,” she said.
Mr Kettles Seafood said he did not have any information about the Seafotons seafoods being supplied to other processors.
“That is the extent of the inquiry,” he told ABC News Breakfast.
“A whole range of information has been provided to ASIC, but no one has come forward.”
Covesmans Seafooms Seafood website states it “continues to provide our customers with quality, sustainable seafood”.
“We are a global seafood processor, with a network of global suppliers and the Cives are committed to providing our customers a sustainable seafood product,” it states.