15-2018 – Implementation of new import conditions for fresh cut flowers and foliage from 1 March 2018

​​​14 February 2018

Who does this notice affect?

Industry stakeholders including importers, approved arrangements, freight forwarders and brokers that deal with imported cut flowers and foliage.

What has changed?


The department will be implementing a mandatory requirement that all consignments of cut flowers and foliage that are allowed to be imported into Australia are free of live quarantine pests and that this is endorsed on a phytosanitary certificate from the National Plant Protection Organisation (NPPO) of the exporting country. Pest freedom will be able to be achieved through either offshore treatment or through the use of a systems approach (a combination of pest control measures in production, transport and packing areas). Cut flowers and foliage will need to enter Australia in insect proof cartons, and any cut flowers and foliage that are propagatable will still need to be dipped in herbicide to prevent growth.

One of the following measures must be applied prior to export of cut flowers and foliage to ensure freedom of live quarantine pests:

  • Produced and prepared for export under a National Plant Protection Organisation (NPPO) approved systems approach;
  • Pre-export fumigation with methyl bromide;
  • Alternative pre-export disinfestation treatments

Details of pre-shipment treatment(s) must be provided on a phytosanitary certificate. Consignments produced under a systems approach must be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate with the required additional declaration. Additionally, the botanical name (genus and species) must be included on the phytosanitary certificate.

The plant species that can be imported into Australia as cut flowers and foliage have not changed.

When will the new import conditions commence?

Goods that are certified and exported prior to the 1 March 2018 but arrive on 1 March 2018 (or later) will not be subject to the new conditions.

What documentation will be required to meet the new import conditions?

Offshore measure Documentation required

NPPO approved systems approach

  • This includes the existing Malaysian and Singapore Accreditation Schemes.

A phytosanitary certificate with the following additional declaration:

“This consignment was produced and prepared for export by [insert name of approved growers and/or packing houses] under an NPPO approved systems approach and was inspected and found free from live quarantine pests.”

Pre-export methyl bromide fumigation

  • Fumigation with methyl bromide must be carried out at a minimum dose rate of 32 g/m3 for 2 hours with an 80% retention rate.

Details of the fumigation must be provided on a methyl bromide fumigation certificate AND a phytosanitary certificate with the following additional declaration:

“The consignment was fumigated with methyl bromide as per the attached fumigation certificate and was inspected and found free from live quarantine pests”

Alternative pre-export disinfestation treatments

  • Treatment types and parameters are not being prescribed by the department.
  • ASG officers are to accept any treatments provided they are correctly endorsed on a phytosanitary certificate.

A phytosanitary certificate endorsed with details of the treatment (e.g. chemical, concentration and duration), the name of the treatment provider and the following additional declaration:

“The consignment was inspected and found free from live quarantine pests”

Pest proof packaging

All cut flowers and foliage exported to Australia must be packaged in pest proof cartons or containers that eliminates the possibility of pests escaping from or entering into its contents.

A phytosanitary certificate with the following additional declaration:

“The consignment was packaged in pest-proof cartons or containers that eliminates the possibility of entry or egress of insect pests.”


Some flowers and foliage must be treated to prevent them from being propagated in Australia.

A phytosanitary certificate with the following additional declaration:

“Devitalisation treatment has been carried out under our supervision at [insert name of accredited treatment facility]. The flower stem has been immersed for 20 minutes in glyphosate solution [insert active ingredient concentration and dosage] to a depth of at least 35cm/ to within 5cm of the flower head/ within 15 cm of apex [select the dipping method used]".

Will the inspection procedure change?

All consignments of cut flowers and foliage are subject to inspection.

Inspection processes of fresh cut flowers and foliage will be largely unchanged as a result of the new import requirements. The department will draw 600 stems across the consignment regardless of the number of phytosanitary certificates. The 600 unit sample taken will be representative of all flower types and suppliers in the consignment. If a live quarantine pest is detected, the department will take action on the whole consignment. However, inspectors will note where pests were detected (e.g. flower type/farm) for reporting purposes.

Given that action will be taken at the consignment level for live quarantine pest detections, importers should give consideration to:

  • Lodging separate consignments (separate Full Import Declarations) for each pest management option, for example one consignment (FID) for methyl bromide treated flowers and one consignment (FID) for flowers produced under a systems approach.
  • In instances where one phytosanitary certificate has been issued by the NPPO for multiple pest management options then the same phytosanitary certificate can be presented for multiple FIDs as long as the relationship between the commodities in the FIDs can be reconciled.

If live quarantine pests are detected on consignments, consignments will be held and secured pending pest identification. NOTE: Importers will not be able to request voluntary fumigation. If live quarantine pests are identified by an entomologist, remedial treatment e.g. methyl bromide fumigation will be applied.

How will the new import conditions be monitored?

The department will closely monitor all imports of cut flowers from 1 March to 31 December 2018 and provide importers with non-compliance reports at the end of June, August, October and December.

We are aiming to reduce the overall non-compliance due to the presence of live quarantine pests for cut flower and foliage pathways to a maximum of 10% during this time.  Our reporting will reference interception data and supplier details to assist your investigation of the causes of the non-compliance. We request that in these instances that you work closely with suppliers and their representative NPPOs in the development of remedial actions.  In instances where suppliers continue to have non-compliances rates in excess of 10% then NPPOs may take actions to address non-compliance.  This may include suspending non-compliant suppliers.

Where there are ongoing non-compliance rates above 10% that cannot be resolved by the end of 2018, the department may remove the corresponding measure (systems approach or treatment) from BICON.  This means that the measure may not be able to be used for exports of the non-compliant pathway of the exported flower or foliage species from a country. Measures would be re-instated following an NPPO submission outlining corrective actions with evidence of their success, or a departmental audit of the phytosanitary system.

In order to identify and address non-compliance at an early stage, the department is also writing to NPPOs to request that they investigate and address the cause of non-compliance.  We expect that this action in combination with the work that is done by importers and suppliers will bring the incidence of non-compliance to a low level.

Further information

Further information on the new import conditions can be found on the department’s website: New import conditions for fresh cut flowers and foliage from all countries.

Enquiries regarding the revised changes to import conditions and their implementation can be directed by email to Plant Import Operations. Please include “Changes to cut flower import conditions” in the subject line or call on 1800 900 090.

Last reviewed: 29 September 2020
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