It’s exactly a year since Taronga and Taronga Western Plains Zoos joined the “Don’t Palm Us Off’ campaign with other Australian and New Zealand zoos to help stop rainforest habitats of endangered animals, such as the Sumatran Tiger and Orang-utan, from being cleared for unsustainable palm oil plantations.
Every year, many animals are killed as rainforests in Indonesia and Malaysia are cleared for these plantations. Even if we are aware, it’s difficult to avoid products that contain unsustainable ingredients. One in four food products, such as margarine and milk fat replacer, contain palm oil from unsustainable sources and you can’t know how it was farmed because palm oil itself is not clearly labelled. In fact there’s no mandatory labelling of palm oil on food packaging and many products list it as ‘vegetable oil’.
We’re not against palm oil being used, but we do believe that consumers have the right to know whether the product is contributing towards the decline of animals already on the cusp of extinction.
The solution isn’t going to come overnight, but the first step is for palm oil to be labelled.
In just a year we’ve received phenomenal support from the community collecting over 20,000 signatures which call for Food Standards Australia New Zealand to legislate palm oil labelling. We need to show that the community wants the choice to decide what we do, and don’t, buy. It’s not too late to show your support, you can sign our petition here.
The next step is already under way. A detailed submission is with the Senate Committee in support of draft legislation which would require the labelling of palm oil in all food products. The submission is expected to be considered by mid-2011. We’ll let you know how we go!
- Nicole, Visitor Learning Team
p.s. you can find out more about palm oil and the campaign here.