Palm oil is a type of edible vegetable oil that is derived from the palm fruit, grown on the African oil palm tree. Oil palms are originally from Western Africa, but can flourish wherever heat and rainfall are abundant. Generally, plant oils are more beneficial for health than animal fats, but palm oil is an exception. Palm oil comes from the fruit of the palm oil tree and is grown on large plantations in tropical places such as Indonesia and Malaysia. At room temperature, palm oil is the consistency of butter or shortening and is often used in place of them in baked goods and processed foods. The large amount of saturated fat and high number of calories it contains make palm oil a risky choice for your health. Today, palm oil is grown throughout Africa, Asia, North America, and South America, with 85% of all palm oil globally produced and exported from Indonesia and Malaysia; but most of the time not using sustainable measures.
The industry is linked to major issues such as deforestation, habitat degradation, climate change, animal cruelty and indigenous rights abuses in the countries where it is produced, as the land and forests must be cleared for the development of the oil palm plantations. According to the World Wildlife Fund, an area the equivalent size of 300 football fields of rainforest is cleared each hour to make way for palm oil production. This large-scale deforestation is pushing many species to extinction, and findings show that if nothing changes species like the orangutan could become extinct in the wild within the next 5-10 years, and Sumatran tigers less than 3 years. (*Click on the pen photo at the top of this petition to watch a video about orangatans)
In total, 50 million tons of palm oil is produced annually, supplying over 30% of the world’s vegetable oil production. This single vegetable oil is found in approximately 40-50% of household products in countries such as United States, Canada, Australia and England. Palm oil can be present in a wide variety of products, including Hershey's products such as Twizzlers.
John P. Bilbrey President and CEO of The Hershey Company,
I have been buying Hersheys products since I was 5 years old, but I recently learned Hershey's is taking part in the Palm oil industry. I learned this because I loved Nibs so much that I was purchasing a couple bags per week for months before I got curious and wanted to know what they were made of. When I read the ingredients and saw they were made with Palm oil I decided to stop buying them. The use of Palm oil is extermely damaging and due to the large numbers of consumers who are aware of this, products such as Hershey's poducts containing Palm oil are being boycotted along with the companies using it.
It’s not just the saturated fat in palm oil that is raising concerns. Palm oil is grown predominantly in Malaysia and Indonesia, where palm oil plantations contribute to the destruction of Southeast Asian rain forests, says a CSPI report released in 2005. Rather than using abandoned agricultural land, which is costly to rehabilitate, palm oil producers clear rain forests and peat swamp forests to create plantations. The soil and water from these lands are polluted by pesticides used on the plantations and the release of effluents into the environment. According to the CSPI report, they are also endangering the lives of the Sumatran tiger, orangutans, elephants, and rhinoceros.
Please understand the severe negative effects of the use of Palm oil in your products. The world is opening it's eyes and big companies need to keep up if they want to keep business in their hands.