Gilbert Latour and Prosper Wanner: The legislative heritage of the soap of Marseille

Soap made by the SOAP factory of the MIDI in 2009 on the occasion of adherence to the principles of the Faro Convention of the city Council of Marseille 15/16 [/caption] In 2007, the SOAP factory of the MIDI, located in the valley of the Carmelites in the Aygalades, after suffering an act of Vandalism, is in a critical situation. Gilbert Latour, CEO of Chimitex and current member of the Coopérative Hotel du Nord, nevertheless decided to continue the activity of the soap factory. He shares his interest in Marseille soap by organising numerous demonstrations: He opens the soap factory to the public every year during the European heritage days and via the Marseille Soap road project in Marseille; It welcomes the young people accompanied by the ADDAP13 in the framework of the workshops of urban revelation as well as an artist in residence; He actively participates in the Marseille Heritage Commission 15/16;  He supports a work carried out on a soap museum in the soap factory by the students of the School of Architecture of Paris la Villette under the guidance of Véronique Bigo. Gilbert Latour then made the bet to give back to Marseille soap his letters of nobility from the Edict of Colbert in 1688 and a decree of Napoleon I in 1812. The latter gives a specific brand to the Marseille soap made in Marseille: The Pentagon where is marked "olive oil, the name of the manufacturer and that of the city of Marseille". The manufacturing process and the origin are not however protected and the use of animal fats, perfumes or dyes is unfortunately today commonplace. Gilbert Latour decides to put the Pentagon on the agenda on his soaps made in Marseille based on olive oil. He calls on local elected officials.  Valérie Boyer, Member of Parliament for Bouches-du-Rhône, interviewed in 2011 the Ministry of Economy, Finance and industry to "know whether the Edict of Colbert of October 5, 1688 and the decree of Napoleon of December 22, 1812 are part of our positive law." The ministerial response confirms that the decree of December 22, 1812, which you cite still appears in force, although the fines have not been updated. But that "to date, Marseille soap is not protected by any of the devices protecting an appellation of origin or geographical indication." (see question and answer). While article 3 of the Edict of Colbert of October 5, 1688 defines the conditions of manufacture of soap in Provence without any animal fat, that the decree of Napoleon I of December 22, 1812 specifies that the city of Marseille has a mark for its soaps to The olive oil constituted by a Pentagon and two judgments of the Court of Appeal of Aix-en-Provence – that of 28 December 1927, confirmed by the Cour de Cassation on 24 October 1928, and that of 12 November 1928 – stipulate that the name Marseille soap is Known to the public, common in trade and applied to a well-determined product based on vegetable oils [1], certain soap and detergent industries use the name "Marseille soap" on animal fats-based soaps with fragrances and dyes. Thus the manufacturers of the traditional Marseille soap made with 72% vegetable oils and without any animal fat, perfume or dye, are faced with unfair competition from the soap and detergent industries. This situation is also a deception for consumers. Indeed, only the traditional soap recipe of Marseille gives it its hypoallergenic and ecological properties (biodegradable in less than twenty-eight days – OECD method) due to the use of vegetable oils and the absence of additives, Fragrances and dyes. Four soaps still testify to the ninety Mills, located near the streams, or more than four hundred boilers, which will produce one hundred and eighty thousand tons at the beginning of the twentieth century. Hundreds of workers, the "fatigues", fed huge cauldrons where the pasta made of soda and oil was cooked. In 2011, with these three other soap of Bouches-du-Rhône, he founded the Union of soap professionals of Marseille (UPS) to defend, promote and publicize the real soap of Marseille (see the site). The soap of Marseille is at the heart of a proposal for a law of 6 February 2013 to create a device for registering geographical indications for industrial products whose characteristics will be strictly defined by decrees taken after A public enquiry and consultation of directly interested organizations or professional groups. PGI-resource-zoneMarie-Arlette Carlotti, Minister Delegate for disabled Persons and the fight against exclusion, visiting the Iron soap factory in February 2013, announced to the UPS that she would support the request to add the Marseille soap to the list of Indications Protected geographical areas (PGI), a proposal already made by the member for Bouches-du-Rhône Valérie Boyer in February 2013 (see the Bill). The Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) is an official European sign of origin and quality which allows to defend geographical names and offers an opportunity to determine the origin of a food product when it derives some of its specificity from This origin. On 12 June 2013, MEPs voted in committee on an extension of protected geographical indications to manufactured products, not just food products, as part of the consumer Bill presented by the Minister-designate For consumption, Benoît Hamon. The Bill entrusts the INPI (National Institute of Intellectual Property) with the task of managing the files of protected geographical indications. To follow… By discovering in particular the walks of the Route du soap of Marseille. Gilbert Latour and Prosper Wanner, April 2013, Misa updated July 2013  


[1] Soap must be made with a mixture of vegetable oils containing, after manufacture, approximately 62% to 64% of fatty acid and resin, 8% to 8.5% of combined alkalis, 1.35% of free alkaline – soda –, sodium chloride and glycerin, 28% to 29% of water.

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