Essential Oils & Lavender Farmers Affected by Regulations

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A lavender farmer

In a recent case study, International Fragrance Industry Association (IFRA) examined the unintended consequences that European chemical regulations had on lavender farmers and essential oil producers. 

Labelling Dilemma 

According to the REACH regulations, essential oils would have to be classified as hazardous materials and labeled to reflect such, despite its uses in a wide variety of products for centuries.

Lavender growers in southern part of France joined together and began to protest this regulation. Then in 2014, the EU Commission called for the IFRA to start a dialogue between the producers and EU institutions. This was all in effort to reach a compromise that would appeal to both groups.

Resolving Conflict Through Dialogue  

IFRA and the European Federation of Essential Oils (EFEO) started to engage in talks with both sides of the issues; the regulators and the producers.  

In April 2014, the EU Commission along with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) met with IFRA and EFEO for a workshop on the topic. As a result of the meeting, it was clear that the industry wanted to comply, but found it hard to comply with the current requirements. For the next several years, they met in workshops and held dialogues to address issues and concerns with the regulation.

Then in 2016, all the parties agreed upon a set of guidelines that would identify essential oils as natural complex substances (NCS), which would then comply with REACH prerequisites.  

The keys to this resolution was due to the process of regulatory agencies working with farmers and producers for a more clear supply chain that benefits both parties.