Friday, October 25, 2013
Palm Oil & Making the Connection
What is Palm Oil? Well, if going to Wikipedia you'll find: Palm oil (also known as dendê oil, from Portuguese) is an edible vegetable oil derived from the mesocarp (reddish pulp) of the fruit of the oil palms, primarily the African oil palm Elaeis guineensis, and to a lesser extent from the American oil palm Elaeis oleifera and the maripa palm Attalea maripa.
Palm oil is naturally reddish in color because of a high beta-carotene content. It is not to be confused with palm kernel oil derived from the kernel of the same fruit, or coconut oil derived from the kernel of the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera). The differences are in color (raw palm kernel oil lacks carotenoids and is not red), and in saturated fat content: Palm mesocarp oil is 41% saturated, while Palm Kernel oil and Coconut oil are 81% and 86% saturated respectively
Along with coconut oil, palm oil is one of the few highly saturated vegetable fats. It is semi-solid at room temperature and contains several saturated and unsaturated fats in the forms of glyceryl laurate (0.1%, saturated), myristate (1%, saturated), palmitate (44%, saturated), stearate (5%, saturated), oleate (39%, monounsaturated), linoleate (10%, polyunsaturated), and alpha-linolenate (0.3%, polyunsaturated). Like all vegetable oils, palm oil does not contain cholesterol, although saturated fat intake increases a person's LDL and HDL cholesterol. Palm oil is GMO-free, i.e., it is not derived from genetically modified organisms.
NPR reports that according to USDA data, U.S. imports of palm oil more than doubled between 2005 and 2012. Last year we imported about 2.7 billion pounds. Much of the palm oil ends up in snack foods such as cookies, crackers and microwave popcorn. And a number of manufacturers are using a mix of oils in many of their products. For instance, it's typical now for crackers to contain a little palm oil as well as soybean, canola or cottonseed oil.
According to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (founded in 2003). First started by WWF for Nature and Unilever was created to work to ensure that sustainable practices are in use for the protection of the environment, human rights and the protection of Sumatran orangutans and tigers. Now incorporates more than 700 members made to promote sustainable agriculture on palm oil plantations. These groups are made up of various stakeholders in the entire palm oil supply chain from planters, processors, traders, consumer goods manufacturers, retailers, bankers, investors as well as environmental and social non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
Their vision is:
-RSPO will transform markets to make sustainable palm oil the norm
And their mission statement is:
-To advance the production, procurement, finance and use of sustainable palm oil products;
-To develop, implement, verify, assure and periodically review credible global standards for the entire supply chain of sustainable palm oil;
-To monitor and evaluate the economic, environmental and social impacts of the uptake of sustainable palm oil in the market;
-To engage and commit all stakeholders throughout the supply chain, including governments and consumers.
Here are my thoughts on this. Going to RSPOs website, and you click on Executive Board Members and Alternate Board Members; you find some that work for Oxfam and WWF. You also find ones that work for Kraft Foods (Head of Sustainable Source Chains); Unilever (Global Director of Sustainable Sourcing Developer); and formally worked for Procter & Gamble and now works for Kraft Foods, he is the (Director of Sustainability Global Issues Management). How many of these board members have a conflict of interest? Since palm oil is found in most of the U.S. processed snack foods. If looking at the rest of the world, there is a Wilmar Group associate that sits on the board. The Wilmar Group is Asia's leading agriculture business. They have been reported to use unsustainable 3rd parties to harvest palm oil leading to the destruction and habitat loss of Sumatran Tigers. They sell to Colgate-Palmolive; Nestle; and Procter & Gamble. Educate yourself, call companies or send them e-mails to inquire where they source palm oil.
30 NAMES PALM OIL CAN BE LABELLED UNDER
Foods, Body Products, Cosmetics & Cleaning Agents:
Vegetable Oil; Vegetable Fat; ^Sodium Laureth Sulfate (in almost everything that foams); ^Sodium Lauryl Sulfate; ^Sodium Dodecyl Sulphate (SDS or NaDS); #Palm Kernel; #Palm Oil Kernel; #Palm Fruit Oil; #Palmate; #Palmitate; #Palmolein; #Glyceryl Stearate; #Stearic Acid; #Elaeis Guineensis; #Palmitic Acid; #Palm Stearine; #Palmitoyl oxostearamide; #Palmitoyl tetrapeptide-3; *Steareth -2; *Steareth -20; #Sodium Kernelate; #Sodium Palm Kernelate; *Sodium Lauryl Lactylate/Sulphate; ^Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate; #Hyrated Palm Glycerides; ^Sodium Isostearoyl Lactylaye; #Cetyl Palmitate; #Octyl Palmitate; ^Cetyl Alcohol; #Palmityl Alchohol
# These ingredients are definitely palm oil or derived from palm oil.
* These ingredients are often derived from palm oil, but could be derived from other vegetable oils.
^ These ingredients are either derived from palm oil or coconut oil.