5 Common Palm Oil Myths Debunked

on November 26, 2020 / by


As humans, the biggest mistake we make is believing anything and everything we read and hear. However, another problem lies in the fact that we fail to ask questions to understand better and resign with the thought that we can do nothing about it. 

One such topic we are ignorant about is Palm Oil… believing every myth about the environmental and social problems, including deforestation, child labour, forest fires and climate change that have been formed over many years. However how true are these assertions about the world’s most consumed edible oil? I wrote in detail about everything we need to know about Palm Oil in an earlier article here

In a webcast organised by the Malaysian Palm Oil Council, industry expert Bhavna Shah strived to create awareness about Palm Oil and debunked some common myths.

Myth #1: Palm Oil causes Deforestation
As per the latest European Commission report, deforestation can be both human and natural. Livestock ranching, agriculture expansion, logging, paper production, mining, urban sprawl, wildfire and climate change are among the largest contributors and the global share of palm oil plantation that causes deforestation accounts for only 2.3%.

Myth #2: Palm Oil requires large-scale Plantations
Palm trees grow on both large-scale plantations as well as small-scale family farms. Almost 40% of the palm oil production is undertaken by small-scale family farms, especially in Malaysia making it both poverty-reducing and economically progressing. 

Myth #3: Palm Oil is Unhealthy
Palm Oil is a cholesterol-free and trans-fat-free vegetable oil with a composition of 50% saturated and 50% unsaturated fatty acids. It is a naturally reddish-orange oil that also contains high beta-carotene content, a natural dietary supply of vitamin A and E that help prevent chronic diseases and supports brain health.

Myth #4: Palm Oil engages Child Labour
Palm Oil is produced in a responsible manner that respects social norms ensuring a multi-pronged push via labour laws and effective implementation. Also with the farm-to-fork approach, each step of the cycle is mapped ensuring the policies are followed to make a lasting social update. 

Myth #5: Palm Oil is only used in Food
Palm Oil is more versatile than any edible oil. It is used in almost all industries including personal care and cosmetics, biofuel and energy, pharmaceutical, industrial and many more. Almost all everyday products like food items, cosmetics, candles, soap, shampoo, detergent, biodiesel, and more than half the products in the supermarket have palm oil as an important ingredient. 

Having said this, it is true that not all Palm Oil production is sustainable and produced organically. However, the attention needs to shift from the blame game to educating people. 

Until next time,
~ Heena
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Disclaimer:
This article is written in partnership with the Malaysian Palm Oil Council to create awareness about Palm Oil, its history and way forward. The views expressed are independent and unbiased observations made by the blogger and the council bears no responsibility for the same.
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