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Cadbury chocolate and palm oil

August 16, 2009

I was sent the following news release from the Greens today, outlining the issue of palm oil use and how consumer backlash has caused Cadbury to stop using it in their chocolate. If you’ve noticed that Cadbury’s chocolate has tasted different (and not in a nice way) lately, it is partly because of the use of palm oil instead of cocoa butter, but thankfully anyone who has noticed has stopped buying the stuff. If you want to know more about palm oil and avoiding it, check out the links at the bottom of the article.

Cadbury’s palm oil about-turn highlights consumer power

Cadbury’s announcement that it is dropping palm oil from its chocolate shows the power of consumers to make a difference, Green Party MP Sue Kedgley said today.

Ms Kedgley welcomed Cadbury’s decision and called on other food manufacturers to follow suit, and remove palm oil from their products.

Ms Kedgley said consumer concern over Cadbury’s earlier decision to switch from cocoa butter to vegetable fat and palm oil, was an example of consumers becoming increasingly active in their purchasing decisions – and the power of the Green message.

“Today’s back-down by Cadbury’s is a fantastic example of the ability of consumers to influence food producers and manufacturers by voting with their wallets and avoiding buying products which raise ethical concerns,” said Ms Kedgley.

Indonesian and Malaysian rainforest, the habitat of rare and endangered species such as Orangutans, is often cleared to make way for palm oil plantations. The forest clearance also displaces indigenous communities. Hundreds of thousands of acres of rainforest are cleared each year for palm oil plantations.

Ms Kedgley said it was also time for the Government to take leadership on the issue, by introducing labelling to identify foods that have palm oil in them. At present palm oil is usually labelled as ‘vegetable oil’.

“There are literally hundreds of foods on the market which contain palm oil, including many processed foods, cosmetics and cleaning products, but consumers are in the dark because there is no label to identify where palm oil is used.

“Consumers have a right to this sort of information, so that they can avoid buying products which destroy native forests and contribute to deforestation, climate change and species extinction,” Ms Kedgley said.

“Consumers are increasingly interested in how their food has been produced, as well as what it is in it. Food companies need to take on board the growing ethical concerns of consumers.”

Ms Kedgley said her colleague Catherine Delahunty’s Private Members Bill, which will regulate the import of illegal and unsustainable tropical timber and products, was another way of keeping out unsustainable imports which destroy forests and forest communities.

How to identify unlabelled palm oil

The Green Party’s rainforests campaign

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