Foreign flowers for Valentine's Day11 Feb 11 02:55PM EST |
My love is like a red, red rose… but I haven’t a clue where she comes from.
This is the conundrum facing those of us buying cut flowers this Valentine's Day. There’s currently no requirement for country of origin labelling (read our article on chocolates and flowers), despite the large number of blooms imported into the country for the celebration. This means that short of asking - and hopefully getting a straight answer - you have no idea if your bouquet comes from Canberra or China, Mexico or Melbourne.
If it’s good enough for food to be labelled with its country of origin and if people are prepared to pay a premium for local, fresh produce to support Australian growers, why oh why are we leaving flowers out in the cold? We may not be talking about an item we actually ingest, but there are good reasons why I want to know if the petals I buy are home grown or air freighted.
First, of course, is freshness. How long will they last before they wilt? Will it be before the possible passions of St Valentine have a chance to take hold? If I don't know where they come from and how long they have travelled how can I judge their potential lifespan?
Secondly, imported flowers are often fumigated on entry to Australia. And who is to say if they have pesticide residues from where they are grown, or know what kinds of pesticides are used in their country of origin? It’s a fair question given your beloved will be plunging their nose into the blooms.
And thirdly (and arguably most importantly) it could help the romance. We make a big fuss about French Champagne and Swiss chocolates on February 14 so why not proudly label the Colombian stems too?