would smell as dodgy. One of the biggest challenges I will have to face in my quest to give up unsustainable palm oil, is figuring out which products contain it. The fact that there is no legislation forcing companies to label palm oil as a separate ingredient means that they can very easily get away with providing very ambiguous listings such as ‘Vegetable Oils and Fats’, which could be anything, really, or complex chemical names that are harder to decipher than Egyptian hieroglyphics. Either way, this skirting around the subject makes it almost impossible to know for sure whether or not you are buying the right products, and consequently feeds the idea that taking this kind of stand is all too hard.
Here are some of the many names palm oil could be listed, supplied again by SNTPO
-Sodium Laureth Sulfate (in almost everything that foams)
-Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
-Sodium Dodecyl Sulphate (SDS or NaDS)
-Palm Oil Kernel
-Palm Fruit Oil
-Sodium Palm Kernelate
-Sodium Lauryl Lactylate/Sulphate
-Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate
-Hyrated Palm Glycerides
-Sodium Isostearoyl Lactylaye
As an ex first year chemistry student, I don’t really have a problem with ingredients being listed in their scientific forms, seeing as most of the particularly scary looking ones (anyone care for some Palmitoyl oxostearamide?) are found not in foods but in body products, cosmetics and cleaning products. However, I do have a problem with them being used to confuse consumers. And I think I have the right to know what I’m putting in my mouth, or on my skin, or using to cover up my zits.
This is the reason why we need to change the legislation, to give people a fighting chance to choose whether or not they want to be buying products that use unsustainable palm oil, and contributing to the consequences. Even if we put aside the arguments as to why it should be boycotted by the consumer public, the bottom line is simple, and hardly unreasonable; we all have the right to choose what we buy, regardless of which side of the fence you stand on. These rights should be honoured by the government.
I’ve put this list up, along with lists of some products that have been confirmed to contain palm oil, on the ‘Product Lists’ Page. You might be shocked at how many of your favourite treats or guilty pleasures have made the cut.