Nick Xenophon calls for mandatory palm oil labelling

Published: 25 November 2017 Image credit: Loving the Green Life

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Nick Xenophon has called for the government to take urgent action in mandating palm oil labelling in Australia.

Mr Xenophon said that palm oil is dangerous to our health, and yet Australians unknowingly consume 10 kilograms of the product every year. 

"Consumers have a right to know for health reasons and for environmental reasons whether the foods they eat or the products they buy contain palm oil," he said. 

“These laws will give consumers the knowledge they need to make an informed choice at the supermarket checkout."

His comments come as the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation meets in Melbourne.

Mr Xenophon says that mandatory labelling is already in place in the European Union, America and Canada, which has resulted in changes to consumer behavior. 

He says that palm oil is not only dangerous for our health, but has devastating consequences for the planet, including being fatal for orangutans. 

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Everyday items such as lipstick, shampoo, detergent and soap often contain palm oil. Image: CHOICE

Founder of Australia's Orangutan Alliance and responsible food system advocate Maria Abadilla said the issue brings together concerns of health, human rights, climate change and animal rights.

“We understand it's a complex issue but unfortunately, it's also an ecological emergency,” she said.

“The time has come to introduce mandatory labelling. Australian consumers deserve to have a choice and for different industries to respond with new solutions and policies."

Some of the food items that often contain palm oil include pizza dough, instant noodles, ice cream, margarine, chocolate, cookies and packaged bread.