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 Mahamad Rodzi Abdul Ghani
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 U.S. Newswire
 roup Calls on Food Industry, Consumers to Avoid Palm Oil

21/3/06 WASHINGTON, (U.S. Newswire)   - Increased demand for palm oil is fueling destruction of the rainforest habitats of Sumatran and Bornean orangutans, pushing those and other already endangered species even closer to extinction, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). In a full-page ad in The New York Times, CSPI says orangutans are literally dying for cookies, as food manufacturers are replacing partially hydrogenated oils with palm oil in cookies, crackers, cereals, and microwave popcorn.

"As it happens, palm oil is almost as conducive to heart disease as the partially hydrogenated oil it is frequently replacing," said CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson. "But much of the increased demand for palm oil is being satisfied by growers in Malaysia and Indonesia, whose authoritarian regimes turn a blind eye to the environmental destruction."

Palm oil is forecast to overtake soybean oil as the world's most produced and traded edible oil by 2012. Malaysia and Indonesia account for 83 percent of palm oil production, according to Cruel Oil, a 2005 CSPI report on the health and environmental consequences of palm oil. Since the 1970s, the area planted with oil palm in Indonesia has grown more than 30- fold, and in Malaysia, it has increased 12-fold. As rainforest is cleared for oil palm plantations, orangutans and other species have less room to roam and reproduce and become easier targets for poachers

CSPI's ad shows a baby orangutan sitting amidst skulls of adult orangutans with the headline "Dying for a Cookie?" The ad urges consumers to read labels and to select products with non- hydrogenated soybean, corn, canola, or peanut oils, all of which are more environmentally friendly and better for human hearts and arteries than palm oil.

In an alert posted on its web site CSPI calls on H. Lee Scott, Jr., president and CEO of Wal-Mart, to adopt a corporate policy on sustainable palm oil. CSPI says that as the nation's biggest grocery retailer, Wal-Mart should reformulate its house brands to use as little of the ingredient as possible, to seek out sustainable sources for the palm oil it does use, and to insist that its suppliers to do the same.

CSPI's ad: http://cspinet.org/new/pdf/cspi_palm_fnl2.pdf

More on palm oil: http://www.cspinet.org/palm

Malaysian Palm Oil Board ( MPOB ) Lot 6, SS6, Jalan Perbandaran, 47301 Kelana Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan, MALAYSIA.
Tel : 603 - 7802 2800 || Fax : 603 - 7803 3533