Palm oil is not actually deadly when consumed, what’s damaging is the way it is produced, affecting the environment and wildlife. It is widely found and sometimes in large quantities in almost half of supermarket products, such as bread, chocolate, margarine, soup, and pizza.
You might not have heard about it because it was disguised under many different names like vegetable oil, vegetable fat, palm kernel, Palmate Palmitate, Glyceryl, Stearic Acid, etc. But a 2014 European Directive forced manufacturers to disclose when it’s being used in foods, however, that does not apply to cosmetics like shampoo and lipstick.
Oil palms are grown in low-lying, wet, tropical lands, oil palm farms often being built at the expense of rainforests, which are home to critical biodiversity. As a result, they are pushing many animals on the critically endangered list. Moreover, the problems are not just rainforests and animals, but child labor, forest fires, and extreme air pollution. Deforestation also contributes to climate change.
What’s the solution?
It seems that the globally accepted solution is not stopping the production and use of palm oil, instead the creation of sustainable palm oil, meaning it will be produced without hurting people, animals, or the environment. But even though the industry has pledged and tried to succeed in doing this, Greenpeace has proved that there is no such thing as sustainable palm oil. As palm oil producing companies expand, it remains to be seen if they will actually be able to find a way to make sustainable palm oil.