FSANZ outlines position on palm oil

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 2nd September 2009

Australia’s food regulatory body has rejected a call for food manufacturers to name the source of vegetable oil in their products.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) said this week that a number of people had contacted them to request the labelling of palm oil in food products due to concern regarding the destruction of native rainforest habitat for orangutans – this has occurred in some parts of the world as a result of an expansion of farmed palm oil plantations.

Current food labelling regulations do not require the naming of the specific source of an oil, such as palm oil, and a generic name such as ‘vegetable oil’ can be used, the food standards body reported.

“We previously considered an application requesting a mandatory labelling requirement for palm oil and, after careful consideration, decided to reject it. Our food regulations do not extend to environmental issues,” FSANZ said. “If you wish to avoid the consumption of palm oil you can contact food manufacturers for information on the source of the vegetable oil.”

FSANZ added that food manufacturers were welcome to voluntarily include environmental information on the labels of their products if they believe there is a demand for such information.