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New Guidelines for Floral Material on Cakes

At the instigation of some cakemakers the FSA (Food Standards Agency) are in the process of issuing new guidance for the use of floral material on cakes, whether fresh or dried.  They have stopped short of legislation, preferring to issue guidelines, which both cakemakers and florists will need to take note of.

Cake With flowers

Now I’m sure this fills you with dread but a common sense approach will mean that you remain compliant within these new guidelines.  I cannot give you the detail because the publishing date has been put back to Autumn from March but I can give you a little guidance on easy steps that you can take now to get you ready to go after publication.

The main thrust is that florists must take every step to ensure that florals used on cakes are safe and will not taint the cake affecting its safety to be eaten. This means any floral material meant to be eaten, as in the pressed flower cakes, must be of edible food grade and be procured from a company specialising in these, such as Nutured in Norfolk or Westlands UK. Any material designed to be removed from the cake such as picks and toppers must be constructed from non toxic /contact safe flowers, lists of which are easily available on the internet and I will have a resource for this coming out soon. 

Wedding cake with flowers

Many flowers commonly seen on cakes will be prohibited, so no gypsophila or eucalyptus, most bulb flowers and quite a few seasonal flowers. Instead, think  about using roses, spray roses, dahlia, lisianthus, wax flower and herbs.

Mechanics must also be of a food-safe standard, so parafilm will need to be replaced with Hamilworth tape, available from cake suppliers and their wires should also be used.  Cake picks must be of Food Grade plastic (not all are). Pringles lids make a good base for topper flowers as these are already for food use. Gone are the days of just taping with parafilm or using cocktail sticks or drinking straw to insert flower picks, cling film or foil will also not be allowed to be inserted into the cake.

Flowers on a wedding cake

I know that this feels very daunting but if we work with cakemakers it is nothing that we can’t adapt to. A disclaimer may be an idea to have to give to the cake makers, and a book to note which varieties from which grower you used on what wedding. This shows that you take traceability seriously and have done everything that you possibly could to keep good records, in the unlikely event that there is an issue.

In the meantime don’t panic, use this time to look at your current processes and see where you can improve on them. Once we have more information from the FSA then I will revisit the subject and do a more in depth look at what will be required by florists to comply.  After all it would be such a shame to never see a cake decorated with fresh flowers.


Viv Bradford

Viv Bradford trained in West Germany in the late 1980s before returning to the UK, where she has pursued many roles in the industry from running retail premises, teaching floristry, working in wholesale, business coaching florists and running an award-winning studio florist specialising in weddings.

Viv also created and runs Facebook groups Flowerphiles for experienced florists and The Floristry Geek for students and those new to the industry which concentrates on educational content.




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