The overpowering stench of bureaucracy; why EU meddling may spell sorrow for Europe’s perfume industry

Perfume wearers of Chanel to Davidoff beware; the days of your scent of choice may be numbered as EU bureaucrats launch a consultation into an outright ban of some key ingredients.

The European Union has now turned its regulatory eye to the potential allergens found in many perfumes, extending rules implemented in 2006 which state that all labels must mention the presences of these substances. The “Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety”, worthy of parody in itself, has told the Commission that certain ingredients including tree moss, found in Chanel No 5, should be banned entirely while the levels of various other potential allergens must be reduced.

The industry is worth a staggering 1.85 billion euros to France alone and the key players are understandably up in arms; the LVMH group which owns Dior and Guerlain has appealed to the EU, but it is not just French perfume houses who will suffer if these regulations go ahead.

Among the so-called dangerous substances are citral, found in lemon oils, and bergamot; small producers of these natural ingredients will take a serious hit in what amounts to yet another example of the damage reaped by thoughtless, unnecessary EU regulation on to small and medium sized businesses.

But for what great cause shall so many stakeholders bear such cost? Has anyone ever been killed by a perfume? Potentially gassed by Thierry Mugler’s Angel perhaps, but genuine perfume related irritations or injuries are particularly rare. The Commission itself admits a lack of evidence while Chanel report just 15 known cases in the 90 year history of Chanel no 5.

Furthermore, this beggars the question of why consumers cannot be trusted to vote with their feet and take responsibility for their own allergies by avoiding offending perfumes and steering hall of House of Fraser for the duration of the festive period. Many people are allergic to nuts, some cripplingly so, yet the Commission is yet to wage war on Belgian chocolatiers or Bombay mix.

I am surprised that the Gallocentric Institutions are allowing this wholly pointless and deeply damaging prospect to flourish, but once the Commission have in mind to ban something, inevitably they will have their wish. If the Commission proposes these rules as expected in January 2014 we will once again see the destruction wrought so regularly by Brussels on industry, small business, taste and sense.

Alexandra Swann Brussels based Europarl assistant to a UKIP MEP Anarcho-Libertarian, currently fighting through 1st year of a Doctorate in Intellectual History on Herbert Spencer and Land Tenure Reform “The Future Face of UKIP” – Michael White, The Guardian Former Tory Parliamentary Researcher Former Deputy Chairman of Conservative Future

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