Lavender farmers insurgent opposite EU chemical rules

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PARIS (AP) — The honeyed smell of lavender is kaleidoscopic with sourness this year in a south of France, as farmers who collect a flower criticism European regulations joining a plant to chemical toxins.

Billboards proclaiming “Lavender is not a chemical” dot fields that furnish what in Provence is famous as blue bullion — lavender oil, value over 100 euros a kilogram. The plant is cultivated by around 1,500 producers, representing 30,000 full-time jobs that embody catering to a millions of tourists in a south of France who come for a breathtaking views of purple fields.

For many, Provence is synonymous with lavender, both excellent lavender — used for perfumes, cosmetics and aromatherapy — and hybrid lavender, called lavandin. Lavandin is cheapest and used to smell soaps, detergents and atmosphere fresheners.

And they fear European Union manners adopted final year and due to come in force by 2018 will bluster that. According to regulators, lavender oil’s intensity to furnish allergies places it resolutely within regulations on chemical toxins. That means lavender products will have to bear labels involving confidant black and red warning labels with messages such as “CAN BE FATAL IF SWALLOWED OR INHALED.”

Producers contend a manners are too impassioned — they note that lavender oil allergies customarily furnish usually rashes — and too costly for tiny farmers.

Lavender producers are now fighting “to survive,” pronounced Francis Vidal, titular boss of APAL, an classification of lavender essential oil producers. In serve to a billboards, a organisation has orderly an online petition, sealed by over 15,000 people.

“The effect of this ruling, in a really brief term, would be a hurt of a plantations and a disappearance of lavender from a Provencal countryside,” APAL wrote in a minute sent to President Francois Hollande and other politicians.

Advocates indicate out that lavender oil was used as an bleach until a commencement of a 20th century, and even currently is cherished for a recovering and relaxing properties.

“Lavender has been used for thousands of years,” Vidal said. “We never listened of any critical problems. Instead, we know that lavender oil helped save tens of thousands tellurian lives.”

Even a European Commission acknowledges that any piece whose essence count on a volume of object it receives and a kind of dirt it springs from is formidable to systematise as a chemical product.

“Natural substances whose combination is non-static need some-more bid and imagination in sequence to be purebred compared to ‘classical’ industrial chemicals. Other products theme to healthy variations, like booze for example, aren’t lonesome by a chemicals gauge though are governed by a applicable food reserve and spotless rules,” a elect pronounced in a request supposing to a AP.

EU authorities met with lavender producers in Apr and are now operative on ways to assistance producers to heed to a law. Proposals are to be done this autumn, according to a elect document.

But producers explain lavender oil should simply be reclassified underneath rural products.

French producers don’t conflict mentioning a intensity allergy risk on their product, Vidal said, though they are adamantly opposite a kinds of apocalyptic labels that can be found on chemicals used in industrial processes, such as hydrochloric poison or cleaning products.

“There is a risk being related to a chemical, and can lead to difficulty for consumers,” pronounced Emilie Zamora, in assign of communication for a PPAM, a kinship of producers of perfume, savoury and medicinal plants.

In addition, producers would themselves be obliged for carrying out a chemical analysis. Many are tiny farmers who couldn’t means a costly procedure, Vidal said.

Lavender farmers have perceived support from Raymond Chaillan, a French redolence creator whose nose helped emanate a scents for Opium, Anaïs Anaïs and Parfum d’Hermes.

“This new gauge will foreshadow a genocide of a plantations of lavender, of hybrid lavender, and a virtuoso from a southeast of France, this cultivation of a dry mountains,” Chaillan wrote in a matter to support lavender producers. “It will serve revoke a perfumers’ palette, tying their creativity.”


Juergen Baetz in Brussels and Claude Paris in Sederon, France contributed to a story.

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