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Palm oil, French Senator Daudigny and Pinocchio

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Written By Frank Tate
Thursday, 06 December 2012


As you drive into the little Tuscan town of Collodi near Lucca, you’d see perched on a hilltop the Parco di Pinocchio, an amusement park dedicated to Carlo Lorenzini aka Carlo Collodi (author of The Adventures of Pinocchio). Lorenzini lived in Collodi as a boy where he is remembered as a cultural icon. Parco di Pinocchio is a favorite attraction for children and adults alike where the beauty of the Tuscan landscape combined with sculptures, mosaics and whimsical artworks create a fairy trail of adventures to once upon a time.
Pinocchio, of course was a fictional character created by Carlo Collodi whose nose would grow in length whenever he lied.
By all accounts, French Senator Yve Daudigny should have a proboscis that should rival Pinocchio’s given his propensity to resort to the little “white” lie to advance his cause. In proposing a Bill now popularly known as the “Nutella Tax” Bill, Daudigny contends that all products manufactured with palm oil should be hit with a 300 percent increase in tax as palm oil was rich in saturated fats and consequently bad for heart health. A second reason put forth by Daudigny asserts that palm oil is responsible for massive deforestation.
What Daudigny’s facetious machinations prove is that comedy is harder than it looks, for he fails to explain why butter and cheese, both French staples and certainly higher in saturated fat content than palm oil should be exempted from his proposal, if saturated fat content was truly his primary concern!  Further, unlike butter and cheese, 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 butter 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)
Palm oil is also the richest source of the heart friendly anti-oxidant tocotrienol, plus other heart friendly phyto-nutrients.
It is well known that palm oil is grown on only 0.23 percent of the world’s agricultural land (occupying less than 5 percent of the world’s lands under edible oilseed cultivation) 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.
As things stand, we can only postulate as to the reasons for the selective exclusion of other edible oilseeds from Daudigny’s Bill. Could it be that Daudigny is aware that the other oilseeds would actually fare even worse than palm oil? Consider this. If a competing edible oilseed like soy was planted instead of palm oil, 10 times more land would have to be cleared as palm oil with its current yield of 4-5 metric tons per hectare already exceeds soy by a multiple of ten! In fact, best in class plantations are already producing 8 metric tons and current R&D points to a potential yield of 20 metric tons per hectare!
Logically, this means that palm oil requires far less land to produce the same amount of oil as its competitors.
Daudigny’s nose has just grown in direct proportion to the feeling of self importance of this wayward Senator, but the Senate despite all the evidence to the contrary backed their recalcitrant Senator and passed Daudigny’s Bill. Fortunately, the Bill caused such uproar with French consumers that the Public Affairs Commission of France’s National Assembly gave Daudigny’s Bill the rightly deserved kick up the posterior of the Bill! Will this be the end of the dishonest adventurism by the French Senate? Not likely, in our view, with the likes of the nose stretching Daudigny serving in their confines! THE END
Redmond  13. December 2012 at 08:57 pm

I don't know why that French senator acted foolishly in proposing to raise taxes on palm oil products. The only thing I know is that the rapeseed oil and sunflower oil growers of Europe must be very happy with his immature actions. 

Raymond  13. December 2012 at 08:58 pm

This smacks of protectionism which is a no-no in this age of world trade. What happened is that the French senator got his foot in his mouth for proposing such an inane 300 pc tax bill on palm oil products.

Terrence  13. December 2012 at 08:58 pm

The antics of the French Senate will either make you laugh or make you cry. But one thing is sure, this is protectionism at its worst!

Jan Paul  13. December 2012 at 08:59 pm

Pinocchio is really a fitting name for the buffoon of a French senator. He should wear a dunce cap!

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