Open letter to the Minister of Agriculture
This is serious !
With lavender, all the naturals are also threatened with extinction because of regulations which are unsuitable for them ...
Sault, 20th June 2013
Call for help, to save lavender and other perfume plants, from more and more destructive European rulings.
To the Minister of Agriculture,
During our last general assembly - to which all the producers were invited - a unanimous decision was taken to launch a movement of protest against the new European ruling. The consequence of this ruling, in the very short term, would be the ruin of our plantations and the disappearance of lavender from our Provencal countryside. That would inevitably lead to desolation and the transformation of our homeland into a desert zone, for there is no replacement crop possible in our dry mountain region.
Of course we are committed to transparency as far as public health is concerned, and the initial intentions announced by Brussels seemed to us praiseworthy. Even though no serious incident has ever been reported, we willingly agreed, as far as essential oils are concerned, to inform the consumer on the possible dangers and to use packaging with droppers and accident proof containers.
We were naïve enough to believe that things would remain as such.
Alas, nothing of the sort happened. Brussels is a bureaucratic nightmare, with the REACH program (Recording Evaluation Authorisation of CHemical products) and all the other rulings they come out with. It is extremely complicated. How can our producers react? As usual, we are the last people to be informed and this state of events is continuing. A recent report by an English dermatologist, if adopted, would clearly threaten the existence of the perfume industry and the use of natural ingredients.
For thousands of years, lavender has been gathered and distilled in our mountains and it has been cultivated since the beginning of last century. We have never been confronted with problems related to either its production or its use.
Have we, producers, suddenly become polluters and assassins?
All these rulings could be considered fanciful, were it not for the dramatic and imminent consequences.
The lavender market is suffering and stocks are building up. Why? Foreign production? Rulings? Perhaps both.
We already know that essential oils and other natural products have been withdrawn from the formulae of many commercial products. And this is only going to get worse…
Meanwhile, other countries (China, India...) are opening perfume schools and developing the lavender industry. They could easily eat away at our market share throughout the world, avoiding Europe bogged down in its absurd rulings.
We therefore request that:
You use all the energy and the means at your disposal to help us out of this never-ending nightmare!
To go by ourselves to Brussels to discuss the problem seems pointless:
• The conclusions reached in 2006 on the specific treatment reserved for our products have never been respected.
• The arguments and the methods used seem on occasion so ridiculous that, were it not so serious, we would be tempted to laugh
(an example is that the essential oils are to be treated with a special solvent to enable them to dissolve in water, in order to measure their effect on fish!).
As you are aware, in any democratic institution, the important decisions are to be taken by elected officials. We would like you to do everything in your power to guarantee that all these rulings, which are the fruit of calculations in no way adapted to natural products, be rejected.
We would also ask you to do your best to obtain the following:
• That our essential oils be recognised as agricultural products.
• That we benefit from a protected status taking into account the specific nature of our products and their time-honoured use which are for the well being of all humanity.
The rulings which Brussels wants to impose are contrary to the professed aim which is the protection of the consumer. The radical reduction of the use of natural products could even lead to their outlawing and leave no other choice than to use chemically produced ingredients, despite current doubts on their use. The chemical industry is the only sector capable of using such important financial means for the evaluation and official recognition of different molecules and products, and this is totally out of the hands of agricultural producers.
We have arrived at the catastrophic result that we have strengthened the chemical industry while penalizing natural products, all this in the name of the greater good!
We will not give up! Public opinion is on our side and we will be appealing to it!
It is all we can bring to the combat, but this enormous force will contribute to your being understood by Brussels so that common sense might prevail.
We will never accept the unacceptable!
We are convinced that only a strong will and determined political action - from all sides of the political spectrum – can save an entire region and its worldwide reputation, which owes so much to lavender.
We need your help!
Rest assured of our loyalty by your side.
On behalf of the producers,
NB: The APAL (Association of Producers of AOC Lavender) is the prestigious driving force of the French production.
But we are not the only ones to share those preoccupations about lavender and essential oils. We work hand in hand with all the actors of the industry:
PPAM de France (Union of Professionals of Perfume, Aromatic and Therapeutic Plants), who have tried, until now, to play the game of honesty and transparency with Brussels,
The CRIEPPAM (Inter-Professional Regional Center of Experimentation on Perfume, Aromatic and Therapeutic Plants) and perfumers’ representatives, transformers and industry users
Read the complete file : dossier-reach.pdf