Have you ever wondered where your flowers come from? Do you understand the environmental impacts and associated health risks that come with imported cut flowers?
Why is this important?
Environmental impact and health concerns are key factors of why it’s important to understand where your cut flowers come from. It is easy to assume cut flowers have minimal impact. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
Aside from the obvious carbon footprint created by air miles of flying cut flowers around the world, cut flowers pose a risk to our biosecurity. Because of this, all propagable cut flowers and foliage that have been flown into Australia are required by law to be “devitalised” before passing our borders as outlined in The Australian Government’s Imported Cut Flower Treatment Guide. This means the stems must go through a process of chemical dipping to prevent potential disease and pests, using the herbicide “glyphosate”. In March 2015, IARC classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans”.
What can we do?
At the moment due to a lack of mandatory Country of Origin Labelling, it is very difficult to tell if a flower was grown in Australia or elsewhere. Flowers that are in season in Australia are also being imported at the same time, often sitting alongside locally grown flowers at markets and shops without labeling, making it very difficult to differentiate between the two. In the absence of Country of Origin labeling, Florada recommends that you request Australian grown flowers from your local florist, or seek out florists who are environmentally conscious so that you know you are supporting the industry locally and minimising potential adverse environmental and health impacts. Remember, consumer demand contributes to change.
How do we do it?
Florada supports the Flower Industry of Australia’s (FIA) call for tighter biosecurity measures and the introduction of Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) for cut flowers, similar to Country of Origin Food Labeling, to create transparency and choice for consumers. Choosing locally sourced, Australian-grown flowers means better flower quality for the consumer and supporting local and Australian regulated industry practices.