Where do we find it?

By Manon Godot, 17th of July 2010

Palm oil is widely used to produce biofuels (to read more about it: articles/vegetable-oil-and-its-controversies/ ), but not only. Palm oil is used in plenty of food products, as it’s a cheaper to produce palm rather than other kind of grease products. Over 70 % of the palm oil production ends up in our food.

However it can be difficult identifying it in food products or in other kinds of consumption products, as the manufacturers are not submited to any legal obligation to label it clearly as “palm oil”, within the EU market .

There is however ways to identify it in the products you buy, and it’s the responsibility of each consumer to exercise a choice on what he buys and which kind of practices he wants to support.

In food products, palm oil can be labelled in the ingredients list under the following terms:

– Sodium Laureth Sulphate (Can also be from coconut)
– Sodium Lauryl Sulphates (can also be from ricinus oil)
– Sodium dodecyl Sulphate (SDS or NaDS)
– Palmate
– Palm Oil Kernal
– Palmitate

In cosmetics, palm oil can be identified under the following names:

– Elaeis Guineensis
– Glyceryl Stearate
– Stearic Acid


Finaly, the chemicals which contains palm oil are:

– Steareth -2
– Steareth -20
– Sodium Lauryl Sulphate
– Sodium lauryl sulfoacetate (coconut and/or palm)
– Hydrated palm glycerides
– Sodium isostearoyl lactylaye (derived from vegetable stearic acid)
– Cetyl palmitate and octyl palmitate (and anything with palmitate at the end)

Palm oil can be found as an ingredient in thousands of food products, such as margarine, candies, crisps, frozen food, pizzas, soups, sauces, etc.

Among many products of daily consumption, we can for example find palm oil in the following candies: Kit Kat, some of the Lindt chocolates, M&Ms candies, Milky way, Toblerone, Twix, Skittles, etc. The main candies companies using palm oil in their products being Mars, Hersheys, Nestle, Wonka, Kellogg, etc.  Palm oil can also be found for exemple in “Brennans” bred or “Pringles” crisps.

According to biomedical researches, palm oil promotes heath diseases and raises blood cholesterol, as it’s high in satured fat and low in polyunsatured fat. The National Hearth, Loung and Blood Institute, and the World Health Organization have warned the international community on the risks of palm oil consumption for human health, and urged reduced consumption of these kind of oils.


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