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Consumers Right to Know if Products Contain Palm Oil

( New Zealand must require food products containing palm oil to be labelled, in light of the latest report from Greenpeace, Green Party Food spokesperson Sue Kedgley said today.

Greenpeace’s report ‘Caught Red handed’ reveals that multinational food giant Nestle is using palm oil from Indonesia in products like Kit-Kat. The palm oil is sourced from plantations grown on cleared Indonesian rainforests. Rainforest clearance is pushing Orangutans to the brink of extinction and accelerating climate change.

Ms Kedgley congratulated Greenpeace for its expose ‘Caught Red Handed’, and said information about what products contain palm oil should be mandatory on labels.

“Consumers have a right to know whether there is palm oil in the products they are about to purchase or not. It is a fundamental consumer right,” said Ms Kedgley.

“At present, there is no requirement for food producers to declare the presence of palm oil in their products. But many consumers are vitally interested in knowing whether products they are about to purchase contain palm oil or not.”

“Consumers want to be certain that they are not helping to destroy rainforests and the habitats of Orangutans.”

Ms Kedgley said it was alarming to learn that Nestle had almost doubled its use of palm oil in the past three years, and that it was sourcing its palm oil from suppliers which continue to expand into the rainforests of Indonesia.

“I am calling on Nestle to make a public commitment that it will not use palm oil in its products,” said Ms Kedgley.

“We should not have to turn ourselves into detectives to work out which products contain palm oil and which products do not. This information should be readily available on a label.”

Ms Kedgley pointed out that Food Standards Australia New Zealand was currently reviewing labelling laws, and the review was an ideal opportunity to amend the labelling laws to require that the use of palm oil was disclosed on a label.

Media Release 18 March 2010 from Sue Kedgley MP, Green Party.



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