Are all Laurus Nobilis Bay trees safe to use in cooking?
I recently bought a Bay Tree Laurus Nobilis from my local Tesco. On the care instructions there is a warning " For decoration purposes only " I enquired through the Tesco Website about this statement as I occasionally wish to use the leaves in cooking. Their reply is "Unfortunately our Bay Trees are not grown to an edible standard or on a food safe site, so it's not recommended to use the leaves for cooking." What would your advice be please.
Lauris nobilis is the original sweet bay leaf used for Mediterranean seasoning in cooking. But the warning may indicate that the growers are using a pesticide, possibly a systemic insecticide, that may have residual traces of toxic substance in the leaf. This may or may not be a real and present danger, but they are covering themselves from potential claims.
Another way is to have the leaves tested by a plant pathology laboratory for pesticide residues. You can search this option through a local university or provincial agricultural department or government pesticide regulatory department.