Palm Oil Labelling
Identifying Palm Oil
Palm oil can be very difficult to identify as it is often labelled simply as vegetable oil. In Australia there are currently no laws or legislation that stipulate the mandatory labelling of palm oil on product labels. This makes it almost impossible for Australians to know whether their product contains palm oil or if the palm oil is produced sustainably without contacting the company who made the product directly and asking them.
In 2009, Independent Senator Nick Xenophon, Leader of the Australian Greens, Senator Bob Brown and Leader of the Nationals in the Senate, Senator Barnaby Joyce introduced the Food Standards Amendment (Truth in Labelling – Palm Oil) Bill 2009 . This bill requires manufacturers to accurately label palm oil among its ingredients. It also provides for manufacturers to label use of Palm Oil as Certified Sustainable, in line with the international Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. It is designed to give consumers accurate information to make an informed choice about whether they want to purchase or consume a product. Unfortunately the bill was rejected.
Food Standards Australia New Zealand
Food Standards Australia New Zealand's (FSANZ) position on palm oil labelling is that food regulations do not extend to environmental issues. If consumers wish to avoid the consumption of palm oil they can contact food manufacturers for information on the source of the vegetable oil. Food manufacturers can voluntarily include environmental information on the labels of their products if they believe there is a demand for such information.