Palm oil labelling won’t save wildlife

Mandatory labelling of food products that contain palm oil would open the “floodgates”, the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) said.

AFGC highlighted that activist groups are now using food labels as a battleground for issues as diverse as deforestation, animal welfare and human rights.

According to the AFGC’s submission to a Senate inquiry into the Private Members’ Truth in Labelling – Palm Oil Bill 2009, food labels should only be used to highlight product information relating to health, nutrition and safety.

Kate Carnell, AFGC chief executive, said from a health perspective, it’s more important for consumers to know how much saturated fat is contained in a product rather than where the saturated fat is sourced.

“There is also no proof or evidence to suggest that labelling palm oil in Australia would change the level or extent of deforestation in Indonesia or Malaysia – or that labelling would save one orangutan or tiger,” she said.

In its Senate submission, AFGC said mandatory labelling for palm oil was an arbitrary response to the much larger issue of deforestation in South East Asia.

“AFGC encourages Australia’s food and grocery manufacturers to move towards using RSPO palm oil as it becomes more widely available,” Carnell said.


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