Friday, 24 October 2014

Talk to the Palm

Palm Oil is used in everything from food to cosmetics to detergent. It is in hundreds of everyday product that you may not even realise. Products like shampoo, lipstick, noodles, bread, washing detergent, butter and hundreds more. The main reason we are so oblivious to palm oil is that it is disguised under many different names on packaging

Palm oil can appear under any of the following names and more:

Vegetable Oil, Palm Kernal, Palm kernal Oil, Glyceryl, Strerate, Sodium Laurel Sulphate and many more.

I first became aware of palm oil when I was living in Australia. On random ingredients checks I would find it in so many things and upon researching I found that in Australia 50% of the packaged food in supermarkets contain Palm Oil. Anti-palm oil groups are alot more vocal down under too. It is also the most widely used vegetable oil on earth with 85% being produced in Malaysia and Indonesia. 

Ok, So whats the big deal With Palm Oil?

Palm Oil is derived from the fruit of the oil palm tree which grows in tropical countries, mainly Malaysia and Indonesia. It is mass produced and highly productive as a lot of oil can be derived from a small amount of crop. The mass production creates jobs and income in rural and impoverished communities in these countries. However the impact the mass production of this crop has on the environment is huge. Endangered species, mainly oorangutans are killed, sold or driven from their homes. Alot of native people also loose there homes as machines take over there land. The deforestation of the tropical rainforest also has a huge impact on global warming!

palm oil deforestation
Elephants, rhinos and orangutans are already endangered

So what can I do?

Choose wisely! Familiarise yourself with the typical names it can be disguised as on your shopping list. It can be quite daunting when you see just how much in your home can contain this one ingredient. Try to choose products that contain "certified sustainable palm oil". This way the economy doesn't suffer in these poorer countries but then neither do the animals. Don't beat yourself up if you purchase something and realise it does contain it, this is merely so you can make an informed choice. The following link is for a petition for sustainable palm oil there is also plenty more info there too!

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting! I knew nothing about palm oil before! Will try be more concious about it in the future :) x