CHOICE says consumers look likely to benefit with the Federal coalition joining independent Senator Nick Xenophon in agreeing to support legislation for mandatory labelling of palm oil in all Australian foods.
CHOICE says consumers look likely to benefit with the Federal coalition joining independent Senator Nick Xenophon in agreeing to support legislation for mandatory labelling of palm oil in all Australian foods. At present, palm oil can be labelled as an unspecified ‘vegetable oil’.
CHOICE and other campaigners such as Zoos Victoria say consumers have the right to know if their food contains palm oil. Food manufacturers use the product extensively in processed foods because it is cheap. However, the palm oil industry has significant environmental impacts with Malaysian and Indonesian forests being currently cleared at a rate of 300 soccer fields a day to make way for palm oil plantations, destroying habitats and putting orang-utans at risk of extinction.
From a health perspective, while other vegetable oils contain as little as 2% saturated fat, the concentration in palm oil is 50%. High levels of saturated fats contribute to raised LDL cholesterol levels and cardiovascular disease.
Senator Nick Xenophon has been a major supporter of the campaign to introduce mandatory labelling of foods containing palm oil.
"Currently, it's impossible for consumers to avoid palm oil because there's no way of knowing they're eating it,” says Senator Xenophon.
"Australians consume 10 kilos of palm oil every year and don't know it. These laws will give consumers the knowledge they need to make an informed choice at the supermarket checkout," he says.
CHOICE has been calling for palm oil labelling for some time. This was one of the key demands in CHOICE's submission to the Independent Food Labelling Review in 2010. We will keep you updated as to the outcome.