Sunday, October 18, 2015

Q: What replaced hydrogenated oils in processed foods?

A. Palm oil, of course. It's solid at room temperature unlike most vegetable fats.

I've blogged about this before, but thought an update was in order, given the reporting by FERN's Ag Insider in cooperation with other investigative journalists.

Take a look at this info graphic to see the negative impact of World Bank funded palm oil development.

Situations like this always make me wonder - when does an unintended consequence become an intended one? And could none of these have been anticipated? Does anyone care about anything but money?

The article which includes the info graphic stresses the impact of new palm oil plantations and related World Bank funded developments on children and their families.

A somewhat tangential footnote: I really enjoy FERN's work. I've sent them a donation in the past because I know decent reporting takes staff which takes money. But like a number of other online publications they are now going to a subscription format. And just like those publications - never mind public radio, mlb radio, video streaming services, and just about everything else - , they want to put me on an automatic renewal. I'd be so happy to send them an annual subscription fee if they would email me a reminder. No paper need be exchanged. But I don't want any more automatic payments, because I don't want the hassle of reorganizing them all every time a credit card is hacked. I want the folks that get my money for the services they provide to take a bit of the responsibility for reminding me to send more. Excuse the rant!

Thinking about palm oil, I began wondering how you recognize it on an ingredient label. Very little googling turned up this handy guide.
Over 200 names for palm oil and palm oil derivatives. Who knew?
Note, too, that many of these are found in "products" - shampoo, cosmetics, etc. Of course, some of the 200 can be derived from other vegetable oils, but mostly are not.

Now I am going to switch from my computer specs to my bifocals and read those 200 chemical names.

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