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Palm Oil: A Universal Ingredient


We often tend to consider the widely believed phenomenon as truth without searching for it ourselves and this leads to big misconceptions. Palm oil is one such thing. We have heard about harmful effects of it, how it’s not good, but if that’s the case then why is it still being used in almost every food product and nobody resisting? I had much doubts and lots of questions in my mind and to get answer to them I got a perfect opportunity, a interactive webinar with Dr Bhavna Shah – Country Representative India and Sri Lanka, Malaysian Palm Oil Council. Dr. Shah was much patient in clearing all our doubts with data, knowledge and experience. 

One of the major reason Palm Oil is considered as much harmful because it is cheap and people connect quality with price. The actual reason for it being this cheap is a single palm tree gives much more amount of oil though its seeds and other plant than any other oil source. So we get more products from fewer raw materials and definitely it will lead to lower prices. 

The initial impression of Palm oil created a negative image as it was kept in open jars, was always treated as a threat by local oil producers as it was imported and yet cheap. But times have changed now it is transported and preserved well, along with import it is produced in India too. But still time and again we hear something negative about Palm oil. Not everything is untrue, different countries are now producing Palm oil and not everyone follows the protocol, how the resources are used, how labor is treated and paid, how the waste is dumped, everything needs to be checked and especially when you are already always under scanner. Certain countries were actually at fault in producing Palm oil resulting in ecological imbalance, so the outrage against Palm oil was true there. To tackle this issue a regularization committee was set up which sets out rules for all Palm oil producing countries and continuously monitors their work to ensure safe environment for everyone.

One other major issue that occurs is adulteration. Oils which are sold loose are often mixed with low priced oil and this is harmful in every way. The economically weaker section is not able to purchase big packets of Oil and hence they purchase loose oil. Though this issue can be solved by banning loose oil and providing small packages like 100ml, 200ml,  etc. This won’t completely stop the adulteration but for sure will restrict it much. 

FSSAI( Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) on 23rd Sept. had prohibited blending of Mustard oil with any other oil in order to provide Pure mustard oil, though companies have taken a stay order on this notification from High Court. Trade bodies of India always support Indian Government initiatives to curb adulteration menace but they also support legal blending of oils stating it has its own nutritional values.

FSSAI is aggressively working on curbing the adulteration  of edible oils, with a Surveillance of all the branded and non branded oils. Its working towards ending all type of adulteration of edible oils.

Palm oil is used in all the products ranging from toothpastes , biscuits, ice creams, hotel industries, Nutella and many more places. So even if we are not consuming directly then indirectly for sure we are consuming it, and think for once will government ever allow use of such a product if it is actually harmful? Palm oil is in fact richest source of Vit E Tocotrienols, which is very good for our heart and brain health. 

This webinar provided me much useful insights on Palm oil. I got to know much surprising facts about Palm oil and its applications. I hope you find this article useful please let me know your views on this.
For more information please check http://www.mpoc.org.in/

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