Cut flower fumigation and fumigation exemptions

Notice to the cut flower importing industry

As part of the Agriculture Competitiveness White Paper measures, the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources is currently reviewing import conditions for plant, animal and biological goods including cut flowers.

Read more about the review and keep up to date with changes to import conditions.

Mandatory methyl bromide fumigation

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources requires that imported cut flowers and foliage are fumigated on arrival in Australia (unless a formal exemption has been granted), to reduce the risk of introducing foreign pests and diseases.

Methyl bromide fumigation involves treating the flowers for 2 hours with methyl bromide gas at a rate that conforms to the Australia Fumigation Accreditation Scheme (AFAS) methyl bromide fumigation standard.

Treatment is undertaken at an Approved Arrangement site (class 4.6) following inspection of the goods and is conducted at the importer’s expense.

Exemptions to this fumigation requirement are available to eligible consignments and importers through these schemes:

  • Overseas Accreditation Scheme: sourcing permitted species of flowers and foliage from accredited overseas suppliers.
  • Automated Fumigation Exemption Scheme: exemptions granted for ongoing compliance for a specific importer/supplier pathway.

Please note that consignments from the Cook Islands, French Polynesia, Mexico and the USA are not eligible for any exemptions.

Overseas Accreditation Scheme

If you are sourcing your cut flowers and foliage from a country that participates in the department’s Overseas Accreditation Scheme, your consignment may be exempt from mandatory fumigation on arrival in Australia.

Exporting countries can contact the department to establish an accreditation scheme.

The following countries currently participate in the Overseas Accreditation Scheme:

Malaysia and Singapore

Cut flowers and foliage sourced from Malaysia or Singapore are exempt from fumigation if they:

  • are sourced from an accredited supplier
  • are from the permitted species list
  • pass inspection on arrival in Australia.

If your cut flowers and foliage are found to contain pests or diseases on arrival, they will require fumigation, or possibly destruction, at your expense.

Check the Biosecurity Import Conditions system (BICON) for full details of conditions for the importation of cut flowers and foliage, including details of suppliers and species covered by these schemes.

China

Cut flowers and foliage sourced from China can be fumigated prior to being shipped to Australia.

To avoid additional fumigation on arrival in Australia, each consignment from China requires one or both of:

  • a valid phytosanitary certificate that includes fumigation details
  • a valid fumigation certificate.

Check the Biosecurity Import Conditions system (BICON) for full details of conditions for the importation of cut flowers and foliage, including requirements for fumigation in China.

Automated Fumigation Exemption System (AFES)

As an importer of cut flowers and foliage to Australia, you may be eligible for the Automated Fumigation Exemption System (AFES) if you have a history of consistently sourcing flowers that are free of insects and other risk material.

To be eligible for AFES, your consignments must not be sourced from:

  • Cook Islands
  • French Polynesia
  • Mexico
  • USA.

Qualifying for an exemption

To qualify for an exemption, the department requires a supplier and importer combination (pathway) to demonstrate consistent compliance with import conditions by passing five consecutive inspections.

Once a pathway has passed five consecutive inspections, future consignments from that pathway are automatically exempt from mandatory fumigation on arrival in Australia.

Where importers source flowers from multiple suppliers, each supplier will be considered as a separate pathway. Importers must include the details of the supplier of each line when lodging an entry.

Consignments containing flowers from multiple suppliers must meet the integral packaging requirements for cartons as detailed in the import conditions for cut flowers and foliage in BICON. If these packaging requirements are not met, no pathway in the consignment will be eligible for fumigation exemption due to the risk of cross contamination.

Maintaining exempt status

Once a pathway is exempt from mandatory fumigation, it maintains that status until it fails inspection three consecutive times. All consignments that fail inspection will be fumigated.

When a pathway loses exemption, all consignments will be subject to mandatory fumigation until another five consecutive consignments pass inspection and the exemption is reinstated.