Bulgaria is well-known for its roses, more precisely its oilseed roses (маслодайни рози). Oilseed roses are famously used to produce rose oil, which is one of the most expensive oils, commonly referred to as "liquid gold". Rose oil is used in the perfume industry, but the Bulgarian oilseed rose also has many other applications. The petals are used in jams, jellies, sweets and liqueurs. Products derived from processing the blossoms are used in cooking as flavouring, flavour enhancers and colouring agents. In addition to the oil, processing the oilseed rose blossom also produces rose water, which is used both in the perfumery and food industries.
On 31 January 2020, the new Law on the Oilseed Rose (Закон за маслодайната роза) (the "Law") was promulgated in the State Gazette and simultaneously entered into force. Its purpose is to protect the oilseed rose, traditionally grown in the territory of Bulgaria.
Scope of the Law
The Law regulates inter alia (i) the identification of oilseed rose plantations and cultivation of the oilseed rose, (ii) the purchase of the oilseed rose blossom, and (iii) the production and labelling of oilseed rose products. A crucial amendment is the establishment and maintenance of a national electronic register of rose producers, rose processors, oilseed rose blossom production sites and oilseed rose plantations (the "Register"). The Register is kept by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forests and is public.
Cultivation and identification
The Law also contains oilseed rose cultivation standards and requirements to facilitate the identification of oilseed rose plantations by the authorities. Oilseed rose producers are now obliged to report newly created and/or destroyed oilseed rose plantations annually.
The Law strictly regulates how and where oilseed rose purchases may be conducted. The oilseed rose may be purchased only based on a written agreement concluded between rose producers and rose processors registered in the Register, the minimum content of which is prescribed by law. In addition, the Law exhaustively lists the places where purchases may be made.
Production and labelling
The Law also clarifies production and labelling requirements for oilseed rose products as well as requirements for production sites. Rose producers and processors are also faced with various reporting obligations.
Among others, the following are subject to control under the Law: (i) creation and destruction of oilseed rose plantations; (ii) production of oilseed rose products for food; and (iii) production sites, distilleries and other processing facilities. The means of control, as well as the rights and obligations of the controlling authorities are specified in the Law.
The Law foresees various fines for non-compliance, ranging from BGN 500 to 10,000 (approx. EUR 250 to 5,000).
Bulgaria is also a world leader in the production and export of lavender oil.
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