Country of Origin Labelling of cut flowers

The Australian Government has conducted an evaluation of Australia’s country of origin food labelling system (CoOL) to make sure it’s working for Aussie consumers and businesses. Submissions to the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources closed on 11 Sept 2020

Within its discussion paper, the government committed to evaluate the 2016 CoOL reforms in 2020-21 which includes the discussion of cut flowers, which can be defined as goods that are substantially transformed.

Cut flowers were identified as a topic for discussion as they are recognised as an Australian grown product that consumers are determined to support locally.

AFTA’s position on CoOL

Country of Origin Labelling may sound like a good idea, but the implications are serious and significant to the industry and could be severe for florists if they are found to be non-compliant.

Under the proposal, all locally grown flowers and imported flowers will need to be labelled.

The floriculture industry is not equipped to manage this burden and it has the potential to force small operators out of business, which is the opposite of the proposed policy changes.

For our industry, CoOL would cause considerable difficulty in ensuring both local and imported labelling is always accurate, at each step in the supply chain, accounting for seasonal fluctuations in the availability of certain varieties. Large enterprises producing proteas and banksias will be forced into labelling every stem, adding significant cost to Australian growers, wholesalers and florists.

AFTA cannot make the cost-benefit scenario make sense for the mandatory application of CoOL for cut flowers.