Friday, 09 November 2012
When I contemplate on the actions of the French Senate where the attacks on palm oil have taken on 2 forms; the “Sans Huile de Palme” (palm oil free in French) logos which is now prominently stamped on many food cartons and the “Nutella Tax” which will see a 400 percent increase in tax imposed on palm oil, as palm oil comprises 20 percent of the in gredients in the popular breakfast spread, Nutella.
The Nutella Tax has been passed in the French Senate and is awaiting a vote in the French lower house, the National Assembly. If passed, the Nutella Tax will fuel price increases and inflation in France which is already reeling from the effects of the Euro crisis!
Sadly, the premise that palm oil is largely saturated fat and consequently bad for heart health and deforestation issues on which the Nutella Tax is built on are grossly untrue and misleading.
It is well known that palm oil is grown on only 0.23 percent of the world’s agricultural land and yet is the world’s leading supplier of edible oil, supplying an incredible 30 percent of the world’s edible oil. This fact alone should alert any objective observer that something does not jive with all the palm oil and deforestation hype.
Also the allegations of palm oil being deleterious to heart health is now largely discredited as tons of scientific studies have shown that palm oil is, in fact heart friendly as the saturated fatty acids in the sn-1 and -3 position (typically found in palm oil) has very different biological consequences than animal fats such as lard and milk fats as the saturated fats are primarily found in the sn-2 position! (Vide: Donald J. McNamara, PhD: “Palm Oil and Heart Health: A case of Manipulated Perception and Misuse of Science” 240S Vol 29 No. 3(s) Journal of the American College of Nutrition)
It is also the richest source of the heart friendly anti-oxidant tocotrienol, a superior form of Vitamin E as well as other heart friendly phyto-nutrients such as Co Enzyme Q10, betacarotenes and other polyphenols.
The naysayers regularly trundle out wild and unsubstantiated claims against palm oil, these kinds of covert operations against palm oil are well documented.
For instance, Libertiamo in a recent explosive expose points out that in reality, such cynical attacks against palm oil are designed to prop up the EU’s indigenous edible oilseed crops like rapeseed and sunflower, which are unable to compete on an equal footing with the rampantly higher yielding palm oil!
What the Senators in the French Senate in their sensational fall from grace did not consider, is the irreparable harm that they will wrought on the livelihood of tens of thousands of South East Asian small farmers who eke out a living cultivating palm oil and millions more who depend on the upstream and downstream production activities associated with it, in their over-exuberance to erect artificial trade barriers against palm oil. To protect the EU’s own edible oilseed industries, perhaps these officials could not care less that, unlike other edible oilseeds, 40 percent of global palm oil production is produced by small farmers!
The main drivers for these covert anti-palm oil campaigns are governments desperate to protect their indigenous edible oil producers who cannot compete on a level playing ground with the hyper yielding palm oil. For instance, palm oil has a typical yield of 4-5 metric tons per hectare, up to ten times higher than soy, rapeseed and sunflower oil! THE END