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Certified Organic Roses on the Market
(from October 17, 2002)

Consumer choices for organic products are continually expanding, but organic cut flowers have been difficult to find. The company Organic Bouquet, Inc. is bringing to the market what it claims is the "world's first commercial crop of certified organic roses," according to an article from Environmental News Service. The Guaranteed Organic Certification Agency (GOCA) certifies the roses, imported from Ecuador, as organic. GOCA is an organic certification agency accredited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture claims that over 70% of cut flowers sold in the U.S. are imported. World Resources Institute found that an average of six fungicides, four insecticides, and several herbicides were used in rose and carnation production in Ecuador. The report found that Columbian flower growers suffered from headaches, nausea, rashes, asthma, and other symptoms of pesticide-related illnesses. (World Resources Institute, Bittersweet Harvests for Global Supermarkets, 1995, http://www.wri.org/sustag/bhgs-hom.html)

Roses as a crop were exempt from the Environmental Protection Agency's Worker Protection Standards (www.epa.gov/oppfead1/safety/workers/roses.htm) for many years, standards that were implemented for most other crops. These standards protect workers from having to handle toxic pesticides in raising the crops. Companies growing organic flowers protect the health of farmworkers and the environment.

Flowers from Organic Bouquet, Inc. will be available at natural food stores and online at www.organicbouquet.com.