The Perils Of Palm Oil

The Perils Of Palm Oil

This article will explain what palm oil is, where it can be found and how it affects our beautiful planet!

So, what is palm oil?

Palm oil is something that is rarely talked about and so it is likely a lot of people don’t even know what it is. However, what is even more astonishing is how much palm oil surrounds us and is part of our everyday lives.

Palm oil is simply a vegetable oil derived (taken from) from the fruit of oil palm trees. It’s edible and in many things we eat daily. There are actually 2 types of palm oil. Crude palm oil is produced by squeezing the fleshy fruit, whilst palm kernel oil is created by crushing the stone found in the middle of the fruit.

Oil palm trees are native to Africa, but have recently been planted in South-East Asia to be used as ornamental trees. Currently, Indonesia and Malaysia account for over 85% of world production, but palm oil is also produced in 42 other nations!

Where can palm oil be found?

Palm oil is found in almost everything, accounting for over half of all packaged goods sold in supermarkets. Some of these items include pizza, doughnuts and chocolate, as well as deodorant, shampoo, toothpaste and lipstick. In many places around the world, it’s also used in animal feed and as a biofuel (although not in the UK). 

How does palm oil affect our planet?

Palm oil has and is a significant cause of deforestation in many of the globe’s greatest biodiverse forests, ruining the habitat of endangered animals such as the orangutan, pygmy elephant, and the sumatran rhino. Massive amounts of greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere as a result of forest loss and the conversion of carbon-rich peat soils, leading to climate change. There is also still some worker exploitation and child labour in this industry. These are severe concerns that the entire palm oil industry must address since they do not have to be this way!

How to cut down on usage of palm oil?

Unfortunately, palm oil is found in a variety of products including products such as your favourite chocolate bar, shampoo and even makeup. However, it is barely ever clearly labelled. There are more than 170 different names that manufacturers have used on their packaging to avoid saying the two words  “palm oil” . The most common name that palm oil is disguised under is vegetable oil. One way to spot this is if a product’s fat content makes up more than 40 percent of its total fat content, it will most likely always contain palm oil.

If you are not sure whether a product contains palm oil either type up the product name into your search engine along with palm oil. You could also choose products that contain clearly labelled oils, such as 100 percent sunflower oil, corn oil, olive oil, coconut oil, or canola oil. Making your own food also will make a difference as you know exactly what is going in your food.

Therefore, it is inevitable that palm oil is in our diets daily, however, even cutting down the amount you consume can make a huge difference on reducing climate change, even though if it seems you aren’t doing much.

We hope this article was helpful and filled you in more about palm oil and the industry!


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