News for Canadian Bulb-Buying Travelers
Just in time for the Fall bulb planting season, the
Netherlands Flowerbulb Information Centre (NFIC) and the Netherlands Board
of Tourism (NBT) are delighted to announce that as of September 1, 1999,
Canadians who buy flower bulbs in Holland to bring home with them, will no
longer risk having them confiscated at customs.
Canadian travelers MUST look for, and only buy
packages of bulbs which are stickered with an official "Certification
of Inspection" issued by the Plant Protection Service of the
This new sticker is now harmonized to cover flower bulb
imports into both Canada and the U.S.
Previously, each country had their own sticker, and in places like
Schiphol airport in Amsterdam, and the Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse, it was
virtually impossible to find bulbs sanctioned for import into Canada. As a
result, for many years, both the NFIC and the NBT have been inundated with
calls from disappointed Canadians who had bought
bulbs stickered by the U.S. Plant Protection services, thinking that it
must mean all of North America, only to have them confiscated at their
Canadian port of entry.
Jan Zandboer, director of the NBT in Canada commented, "This new
harmonized sticker is truly great news for Canadians, who rank #7 in the
world as lovers, importers and planters of Dutch flower bulbs".
Myth - a false or unsupported belief
How did this myth begin? Supposedly, in 1919 an Army
Officer claimed the death of his child was the result of eating a
poinsettia bract. This story was later determined to be only a rumour. No
other consumer plant has been tested for toxicity as much as the
poinsettia plant. All research results have found no toxicity with
ingestion of any part of the poinsettia plant. Even so, it is still widely
believed that ingestion of any part of the plant is poisonous. Research
conducted by Ohio State University has found ingesting large amounts of
any part of the plant to be non-toxic.
POISONDEX (resource used by US poison control centres), references that
it would take more than 500 leaves to be eaten by a 50 lb child to exceed
the experimental doses that found no toxicity. Data collected in 1995 by
the American Association of Poison Control Centres
reported that out of 22,793 cases, no significant
toxicity was found with ingestion of the plant.
The American Medical Handbook of Poisonous and
Injurious Plants references that ingestion of the poinsettia plant may
produce vomiting, but no toxic effects.
Results of a 1995 Society of America Florists poll,
conducted by Bruskin/Goldring found of those polled:
45% falsely believed chocolate can cause acne
45% falsely believed sugar can cause diabetes
66% falsely believed ingestion of the poinsettia plant
to be toxic.
Ingestion of the plant is not toxic, though may cause
some stomach irritation
Spread the word - poinsettias are non-toxic