There is so much risible nonsense these days, but there’s nothing more risible than the disingenuous guff released by environmental groups on palm oil! It’s gotten so bad that when you read anything on palm oil, you should look beneath the sauce to see if it’s pasta.
We’re moved to write these series of papers detailing the lies that are fed to the world at large by green groups and blindly regurgitated by a main stream media too undermanned or too lazy to investigate the roiling cauldron of blunderbuss allegations against what is probably the world’s healthiest and most sustainable oilseed crop bar none!
We discussed last week how research is showing that the antioxidant power of red palm oil can be of help in protecting against a variety of health problems, including osteoporosis, asthma, cataracts, macular degeneration, arthritis, liver disease, premature aging and even cancer. Research suggests that tocotrienol rich palm oil may help fight skin, stomach, pancreas, liver, lung, colon, prostate, breast, and other cancers.
The question then arises as to why then should an edible oil that is inherently healthy and heart friendly should be targeted and come under such withering attacks?
A clue can be found in the Palm Oil Facts column in Soyatech’s website which reads as follows: “In 2006, palm oil accounted for 52% or 26.3 mil MT of the total world oils and fats exports. Soybean oil was a distant second at 19%. Palm oil demand was significantly increased by 10.6% to 33.17 mil MT in 2006. In 2006, the total world oils and fats consumption was estimated at 137.9 mil MT, an additional demand of nearly 7 mil MT over 2005, reflecting a very strong growth of 5.3%. Over the same period, soybean oil use has grown rapidly, up by 5.3% to 32.8 mil MT. Both palm and soybean oils combined, dominate almost 48% of global oils and fats consumption in 2006. In terms of the world market, both Malaysia and Indonesia account for 90% of the palm oil world export trade and will likely remain the key players in the palm oil sector, accounting for 28.5 million MT or 85% of the world’s palm oil production.” (see: http://www.soyatech.com/Palm_Oil_Facts.htm)
If it’s even remotely true that palm oil accounted for 52% of the total world oils and fats exports, this would have sent shivers down the spine of its competitors. What cannot be disputed is the fact that palm oil has inherently the highest yield in the edible oil market.
Soybean industry troubled by negative news
As it so happens, during the 70s and 80s, the soybean industry was troubled by emerging evidence that soybean oil consumption lowered immunity, increased susceptibility to infectious disease, and promoted cancer.
The idea was hatched to launch diversionary measures; demonize the competition, by making saturated fats appear to be the cause of heart disease—the nation’s number one killer—people wouldn’t pay much attention to the negative findings coming out about soybean oil. Starting in the mid-1980s the soybean oil industry began a multi-million dollar anti-saturated fat campaign.
Consumer advocacy groups like CSPI or AHSA were either swayed by the misleading information or were paid to launch campaigns against saturated fats. In these groups the soybean industry found very vocal, high profile allies or surrogates which spearheaded much of the criticism against against the tropical oils. These organizations placed anti-saturated fat ads in the media, published newsletters and magazine articles, and books, and lobbied for political action against the use of tropical oils.
The soybean industry fed misleading information to these groups and got them to fight the battle. Whether the soybean industry took a back seat and stayed out of the limelight or actively funded these consumer advocacy groups, we will never know unless new evidence emerges. THE END …To be continued…