Hands off our lavender! EU's move to ban flower sparks Frexit call in France

A NEW EU proposal looking into the banning of lavender is sparking furious calls for France to leave the bloc.

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A draft European Union regulation could classify lavender as a dangerous plant. The new regulations could impose a warning on the bottles. For distillers in France, the virtues of lavender are multiple: anti-inflammatory, or soothing. Ultimately, all essential oils would be threatened by this European regulation.

The news is raising eyebrows in France. Sharing the shocking news, a Twitter user wrote: “How much longer are we going to allow European officials to project entire sectors of our ancient commerce into bankruptcy on the pretext that they have thought up a ‘standard’?”

Echoing the French citizens’ concerns, Generation Frexit leader Charles-Henri Gallois said: “Lavender essential oils or our cheeses, the EU wants to control and sanitise everything.

“It is time to take back control and decide for ourselves our future, our standards, our laws and our model of society.”

The plan to ban lavender was first introduced by Brussels in 2016.

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EU news: Brussels is trying to label lavender as toxic (Image: GETTY)

European regulations linked the plant to chemical toxins.

The plant is cultivated by around 1,500 producers, representing 30,000 full-time jobs that include catering to the millions of tourists in the south of France who come for the panoramic views of purple fields.

For many, Provence is synonymous with lavender, both fine lavender — used for perfumes, cosmetics and aromatherapy — and hybrid lavender, called lavandin.

Lavandin is the cheapest and used to scent soaps, detergents and air fresheners.

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According to regulators, lavender oil’s potential to produce allergies places it firmly within regulations on chemical toxins.

That means lavender products will have to bear labels involving bold black and red warning labels with messages such as “can be fatal if swallowed or inhaled”.

Producers say the rules are too extreme — they note that lavender oil allergies usually produce only rashes — and too expensive for small farmers.

Advocates point out that lavender oil was used as an antiseptic until the beginning of the 20th century, and even today is prized for its healing and calming properties.


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EU news: Gallois is urging French people to sign a petition for a Frexit referendum (Image: CHARLES-HENRI GALLOIS)

Even the European Commission acknowledges that any substance whose contents depend on the amount of sun it receives and the kind of soil it springs from is difficult to classify as a chemical product.

EU authorities met with lavender producers in 2016 to work on ways to help producers to conform to the law.

But very little seems to have changed since then.

French producers don’t oppose mentioning a potential allergy risk on their product but they are adamantly against the kinds of dire labels that can be found on chemicals used in industrial processes, such as hydrochloric acid or cleaning products.

In addition, producers would themselves be responsible for carrying out the chemical analysis.

Many are small farmers who could not afford the expensive procedure.

William Murphy

William Murphy

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