L'Echo: no justification for campaign against palm oil

Posted on: January 12, 2015

Independent consultant in agro-industry and environment Pierre Bois d’Enghien published an opinion piece about palm oil in L'Echo, a financial newspaper, mainly distributed in the French speaking part of Belgium.

In this article, the author refers to the European Palm Oil Conference that was held in Brussels 9 December 2014, where “participants had the opportunity to share their experiences and their knowledge regarding the utilization of palm in the agro-food industry, its role in a balanced diet and the development of sustainable supply chain”. The article also mentions that personalities like the honourable Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, Malaysian Minister of Plantation Industry, and his excellency mr. Havas Oegroseno, Ambassador of Indonesia, were present to express their incomprehension regarding the current smear campaign against palm oil.

According to the author, it was surprising to hear chocolatier Jean Galler explaining that he only decided to label his chocolates to meet some consumers’ demand. Finally the consultant mentions the TNS survey which shows that palm oil was perceived to be a risk among French-speaking consumers, in France and in Belgium, but much less in other countries.

He adds that “no palm oil” labelling could mean that the food product is made of another vegetable oil, which could not be certified sustainable and contain trans fatty acids (which do not exist in palm oil).

Finally, he suggests that the legality of “no palm oil” labelling could be challenged. He mentions that this labelling which has no scientific basis was already endangering diplomatic relations between Belgium and Malaysia, and that probably other producer countries from South East Asia, South America and Africa will follow Malaysia’s initiative. “For these reasons, it would be more reasonable for Belgium to stop with “no palm oil” labelling”, he concludes.

To read the full article (in French) click here.