Palm oil is a type of vegetable oil which is high in saturated fat, presenting health concerns. It is derived from the palm fruit, grown on the African oil palm tree. Oil palms originated in West Africa, but can flourish wherever heat and rainfall are abundant. Today, almost all palm oil is produced in, and exported from, Indonesia and Malaysia; but most of the time not using sustainable measures.
Thousands of kilometres of pristine rainforest is slashed and burned in order to make way for oil palm plantations. Many orangutans and other animals are killed in the process, for the production of palm oil used in many of our everyday foods and products. This large-scale deforestation is pushing orangutans to extinction, along with many other native species of Borneo and Sumatra.
Palm oil is an extremely popular vegetable oil amongst manufacturers. It is used in over 50% of products, including: baked goods, confectionery, cosmetics, body products and cleaning agents. But in many countries, there is no law on the mandatory labelling of palm oil. Consequently, companies will usually hide palm oil under the name of ‘vegetable oil’, or over 170 other names!
One argument is that we need palm oil in today’s society, and that palm oil is a key ingredient in many foods and body products. But what about 30 years ago? Back then, palm oil wasn’t use is nearly as many products as today, in fact, it was almost non-existant in much of the Western-world. So why does there need to be such a high demand for it in the modern world? We don’t need palm oil. There are many alternatives to palm oil, but unfortunately none as cheap and efficient, which is why companies are reluctant to switch.
Another alternative option for companies is ‘sustainable palm oil’. The only issue with sustainable palm oil is that currently, this ‘eco-friendly’ vegetable oil is sourced through RSPO, an organisation which is considered unreliable and untrustworthy by many.
Because palm oil isn’t labelled in many countries, consumers are blinded to the fact that many of the products they are buying contribute to this unprecedented disaster.
A short list of well-known products that contain crude palm oil as well as a list of products that contain ‘sustainable’ palm oil can be found here.
That way you can have the choice whether to buy them or not.
Orangutan numbers are plummeting at a dangerously fast rate, all for our sugary, prepackaged snack foods and fragrant, chemical-filled soaps and shampoos.
We have a choice, orangutans do not !
Article originally published @ saynotopalmoil.com