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Thread: Palm Oil

  1. #51
    Knolishing Pob's Avatar
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    Default Re: Palm Oil in Vegan food products

    There is a lot of it about, but there is also a lot of processed food that doesn't contain it (or contains such a small amount it's not worth worrying about).

    If a food just says vegetable oil, look at the amount of saturated fat. If a large amount of the fat is saturated fat then it has a high proportion of palm oil in it. Palm oil is about 50% saturated fat, palm kernel oil is close to 80% saturated fat, other common oils are much lower in saturated fat. Rapeseed (canola oil) is around 6% saturated fat. I think in the UK only palm and rapeseed oil (or a mixture of the two) are generally labelled as vegetable oil.

    I try and buy stuff that labels the oil, or else I look at the fat profile. If it is more than about 10% saturated fat to total fat ration then I don't buy it. You have to have a bit of leeway because some other ingredients (nuts, seeds, coconut) may add a little saturated fat.
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  2. #52
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    Default Re: Palm Oil in Vegan food products

    I hadn't heard about any of this. *Adds palm oil to the list of things to aviod*

  3. #53
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    Default Re: Palm Oil in Vegan food products

    I hadn't heard that it was a problem, either. I'd had it in Ghana, where it is not "solid at room temperature" (because the temperature is higher!), it is an oil as the name suggests. Over there, it is used in the un-refined form, which is deep red, very tasty and nutritious. Drizzled on a carbohydrate food such as fufu, it is considered a complete meal, without needing meat or fish.

    So I associated palm oil with Africa and was surprised to hear about the plight of the orang-utan as Africa is home to the chimpanzee and the gorilla! I hadn't really taken on board that the palm oil imported into Europe was from unsustainable plantations in Asia.

    On the domestic front, does anyone know about Pure dairy free (Matthews Foods)? I use their soya version, which has 45% soya oil. Other ingredients include "Vegetable oils". I presume this is palm oil, and I think I remember seeing palm oil mentioned before their packaging had a makeover. I checked their website www.puredairyfree.co.uk (lots of vegan recipes) but could find no mention of palm oil.
    I'd hate to have to stop using this product, it took me long enough to discover it when I first became a vegan, I don't know what else I'd put on my bread.

  4. #54
    WalkingJukebox KrissStress's Avatar
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    Default Re: Palm Oil in Vegan food products

    like Jessica just said - avoiding processed food for the most part will prevent any kind of contact with palm oil. And besides...it's more fun cooking stuff from scratch anyway!

  5. #55
    Rentaghost Marrers's Avatar
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    Default Re: Palm Oil in Vegan food products

    This was a big story on the national news (10.30pm ITV) today.
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  6. #56
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    Default Re: Palm Oil in Vegan food products

    If anyone would like to help out the orangutans endangered by palm oil plantations, you can actually "adopt" an orphan through the Australian Orangutan Project for $55. The money goes directly towards the sanctuaries that are caring for orphaned orangutans. Their mothers are usually killed as an indirect result of deforestation - when their home is destroyed and their usual food is no longer available, the orangutans resort to raiding human food supplies and are often shot by the locals, or by hunters supplying the bushmeat trade. (In their defence, the local people struggle to find enough food for themselves, since Indonesia has a high rate of poverty.)

    Anyway, here's the link:
    http://www.orangutan.org.au/index.php?id=23

  7. #57

    Default Re: Palm Oil in Vegan food products

    It’s not just food – toiletries and cleaning products often use palm oil too.

    I was concerned that the glycerine in Kingfisher toothpaste was derived from palm oil, so wrote to them asking about the source/sustainability of their palm oil, and they said:
    “We have guarantees from our supplies assuring us that our palm oil comes from sustainable managed estates. We are satisfied that this type of production does not endanger the orangutang or other species.”

    I also got some info from Ecover, who use palm oil in some products; they say it is difficult to be certain about the source of their oil, but they are involved with the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil, and campaign for traceability.

    (This information is a little old though.)

  8. #58

    Default Re: Palm Oil in Vegan food products

    Mzee, Pure are in the same camp as Ecover - they are working (through the RTSPO) towards traceable sustainable palm oil.

    For non-dairy fat spreads like this tho, it seems to be a choice between hydrogenated (trans) fats & 'solid' vegetable fats (palm or coconut), and I don't know of any based on coconut oil.

    You could always try using oil on your bread (bit messy tho for packed lunches!), or stick to moist toppings, like avocado, hummus & pate's, so you don't really need a spread at all.

  9. #59
    Mzee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Palm Oil in Vegan food products

    Thanks for doing the research, Helen.
    I do use Marmite, tahini, peanut butter and pumpkin seed butter (not all on the same slice, though!) in my packed lunch, so perhaps I'll cut down the amount of Pure I use.

  10. #60
    disturbed
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    Default Re: Palm Oil in Vegan food products

    Quote ecoanimal View Post
    Lush are doing their best to cut out palm oil from their products.
    http://www.newconsumer.com/news/item/3149/
    http://www.manchestereveningnews.co....akes_you_green

  11. #61
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    Default Re: Palm Oil in Vegan food products

    http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/blog/fo...m-oil-20080421

    Anyone seen any of this in the news?
    I happened to get sent a blog on this link and am intrigued as it's one of the issues that particularly pushes my buttons. You'd think so many people as orangutans would have been more heard of?!!
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  12. #62
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    Default Re: Palm Oil in Vegan food products

    I know this thread was started a long time ago, but until I stumbled on it, I honestly had no idea about the environmental issues with palm oil, and I'm truly aghast. I'm making efforts to eliminate it from my family's diet, but it seems like it's in *everything*! I had been using Earth Balance margarine (funny they have the nerve to call it "earth" Balance with the palm oil it contains), and I found only one kind of margarine that is both non-hydrogenated and doesn't contain palm oil--spectrum canola spread. But frankly, it is kinda gross, so I'm still on the market for a good replacement.

    But actually, where I'm having the most difficulty is PEANUT BUTTER!!! I had stopped using hydrogenated peanut butter and had switched to Skippy natural, because my children and I like *sweet* peanut butter, and Skippy uses sugar in their ingredients. But now I've discovered they also use Palm oil. And I have not been able to find a replacement, because it seems like the only non-hydrogenated peanut butters (ie. the "natural" or "organic" ones) only cater to those who like *salty* peanut butter. In other words, they contain no sugar whatsoever--only peanuts and salt, and it's difficult to reason with 4 and 6 year olds to get them to develop an acquired taste for it (not to mention trying to convince my own sweet-tooth). We live a busy life, and PB&J is a staple food for lunch, PB toast is often a quick breakfast, PB crackers a healthy snack, etc. So I hate to keep buying PB with palm oil in it. Does anyone know of a brand of sweet, natural, and palm oil-free PB??? (Oh, and crunchy if possible)

  13. #63
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    Default Re: Palm Oil in Vegan food products

    Could you possibly add your own sugar to the peanut butter? I like to add a drizzle of maple syrup or agave nectar to "natural" peanut butter.

  14. #64

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    Default Re: Palm Oil in Vegan food products

    Quote yum View Post
    Oh my i have never heard of palm oil before- i find eating vegan hard enough as it is and so this is another ingredient i will be avoiding. Is it in alot of vegan food? Maybe we could make a list of things we know it is in to help us all
    xxxxxx
    This. I'm new and I'm learning everyday.

  15. #65
    steven1222
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    Default Re: Palm Oil in Vegan food products

    I have found that palm oil is used primarily as a substitute for partially hydrogenated oils because it has similar physical qualities but lacks trans fat. Other oils, such as soybean, sunflower, and canola, seem to be more common than palm oil in processed food. I usually avoid palm oil primarily for health reasons, especially its high level of saturated fat compared to most other plant oils. I have known for a while that it causes rainforest destruction and that is upsetting, but I find it too difficult to avoid it 100% of the time. It is in two products than I consider irreplaceable.

  16. #66
    airalien
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    Default Do you eat chocolate with palm oil?

    Hi,

    I mean from sustainable sources.

    I haven't eaten food with palm oil in it for months because I connect it to destroying habitat but would it be more helpful to animals tobuy chocolate with vegan sustainable palm oil or go without?

    Also I don't know if it's a myth but I heard bugs can be in chocolate - is this true even in vegan brands?

    thanks alot
    Last edited by Korn; Dec 13th, 2011 at 11:54 PM. Reason: This was the first post in a similar thread

  17. #67

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    Red face Re: Palm Oil in Vegan food products

    iv just been researching the RSPO i dont know if it is just me but they dont seem very trustworthy i found out that Unilever has the chair position what ever that means but they are an unethical company to begin with i am very confussed by the whole Palm Oil thing but i am going to cut it out of my families diet as much as i can but it seems to be in everything this is my first post so if it seems dum please forgive me i hope someone will reply to this post

  18. #68
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    Default Re: Palm Oil

    Hello Karen. That's a good question to launch your forum career with!

    Have you seen this article? http://www.guardian.co.uk/environmen...lm-oil-targets . There are some other articles about it on the Ethical Consumer website but they don't look very up to date unfortunately - e.g. http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/comme...t/palmoil.aspx

    I agree the membership of the RSPO is not very impressive from an ethical point of view, but arguably an industry organisation that needs to include major manufacturers to make a difference. I also prefer to avoid palm oil as far as possible but given that not everyone else is going to do that I hope these campaigns to make it more sustainable get somewhere :/

  19. #69

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    Default Re: Palm Oil

    Some products call themselves 'vegan' but still contain palm oil.

    The only UK peanut butter than is palm oil free is SunPat. So I add some oil to it if I'm making cookies.

  20. #70
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    Quote misosoup View Post
    Some products call themselves 'vegan' but still contain palm oil.
    If they don't have animal products in them then products are vegan. Palm oil is a plant oil and is therefore vegan. Yes there are many issues with sustainable production but these issues are in no way unique to palm oil. Why is palm oil suddenly the only product that is so evil?
    Houmous atá ann!

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  22. #72
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Palm Oil

    I agree that the absence of palm oil in is not part of the definition of a vegan product. I think it's probably one of the vegan products that is more environmentally questionable though, so would prefer to avoid it for reasons that aren't to do with being vegan

    Re peanut butter, I have been buying the fair-trade one from Oxfam (Harry's Nuts) lately, but I see that does contains palm oil, albeit from RSPO producers. I guess I should try and make my own, which is meant to be fairly easy.

  23. #73
    Draíochta Blueberries's Avatar
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    Default

    I think it's fine to avoid it for environmental reasons and to campaign for more sustainable production that doesn't harm orangutans but saying that palm oil isn't vegan just muddies things up. Vegan is a word with a definition that you can't just change over one product. If you use that logic to decide what is and isn't vegan hardly anything would be vegan, mono agriculture in general causes all sorts of damage to the environment and has affected many species of animals. All we can do is educate people and campaign for something better, we can't just decide that plants aren't vegan anymore.
    Houmous atá ann!

  24. #74
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    Default Re: Palm Oil

    Quote misosoup View Post
    Some products call themselves 'vegan' but still contain palm oil.

    The only UK peanut butter than is palm oil free is SunPat. So I add some oil to it if I'm making cookies.
    Lidl sell a peanut butter that is palm oil free. It's good too, and cheaper than Sunpat.

  25. #75

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    Default Re: Palm Oil

    Quote Blueberries View Post
    I think it's fine to avoid it for environmental reasons and to campaign for more sustainable production that doesn't harm orangutans but saying that palm oil isn't vegan just muddies things up. Vegan is a word with a definition that you can't just change over one product. If you use that logic to decide what is and isn't vegan hardly anything would be vegan, mono agriculture in general causes all sorts of damage to the environment and has affected many species of animals. All we can do is educate people and campaign for something better, we can't just decide that plants aren't vegan anymore.
    Well OK. What I meant was, a product may call itself 'vegan' but just a heads up to check for palm oil which for me is not an ok ingredient to use. It's something that I've come across a few times especially with pastry.

    Thanks GMC, I'll look out for it!

  26. #76

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    Default Re: Palm Oil

    thanks everyone for replying to my post i know that ethically palm oil is up there with many other things (the list would go on forever i expect) i guess its one of those things that we just have to decide for ourselves were we draw the line thanks again for all our replies

  27. #77
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    Default Re: Palm Oil

    I dont know about the helath issues of palm oil so if anyone could post a link that qould be awsome

    how ever i know its bad for the enviroment as it is clearing raiforest and so in turn depleting soil qulity and animal life that is native to the area

    also be warned there are products that will clearly state on them vegan friendly but they still have palm oil in them and so howe can they be vegan friendly so we need to stop the miss lableing and educate companeys what it means to lable and things a vegan when they are not!!

    skasha

  28. #78
    Abe Froman Risker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Palm Oil

    Palm oil IS vegan friendly. Please don't muddy the definition of vegan.
    "I don't want to live on this planet any more" - Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth

  29. #79
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    Quote Risker View Post
    Palm oil IS vegan friendly. Please don't muddy the definition of vegan.
    +1
    Houmous atá ann!

  30. #80
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    Default Re: Palm Oil

    I think Skasha was thinking about whether the unethical resourcing of palm oil resulted in harm to animals... However, Skasha, the definition of veganism includes the words "as far as practical and possible", and it itself is not of animal origin, so it actually is vegan. Sometimes the harvesting of vegetables/fruits/grains etc results in accidental harm to animals too, but they are still vegan foods. No vegan can truly be 100% sure that everything they do, touch, eat, use, or wear is definitely completely free of association from harm to animals, but we can do our utmost to do the LEAST harm possible.

    Obviously, when it comes to the animal kingdom and the environment, we ought to all do as much as we can, but within reasonable practicality and possibility. The individual needs to decide what those words mean to them.

  31. #81
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Palm Oil

    Yeah, the generally accepted definition of vegan food is that it doesn't contain any animal products (see here for example http://www.vegansociety.com/caterers...efinition.aspx) , so foods with palm oil can be labelled vegan.

    I think you could make a case that it's illogical to be vegan and yet buy certain products that come outside this definition but I agree it's a separate question and one that we're probably not all going to agree on.

  32. #82

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    Default Re: Palm Oil

    My point is, what about omnis suggesting you to eat "good, natural" butter instead of bad palm oil?

    I've had those discussions with people campaigning against the use of palm oil, and, sorry to say, while I try to avoid palm oil, a vegan product with palm oil would be preferable to a non-vegan one any day.

    Best regards,
    Andy

  33. #83
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    Default Re: Palm Oil

    Quote Andy_T View Post
    My point is, what about omnis suggesting you to eat "good, natural" butter instead of bad palm oil?

    I've had those discussions with people campaigning against the use of palm oil, and, sorry to say, while I try to avoid palm oil, a vegan product with palm oil would be preferable to a non-vegan one any day.

    Best regards,
    Andy
    Yep, same here.

  34. #84
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    Default Re: Palm Oil

    Hi guys, so sorry if any of this is repetition, and it only relates to the UK really...

    I'm also trying to cut out palm oil. I emailed Biona about this issue a while back, and I got quite a good response from them, which unfortunately I can't find now! Anyway, they have their own sustainable project in Colombia, rather than simply relying on being in the RTSPO, which I suppose is why their spread is more expensive...it is a good way of using less and moving towards a spread-free lifestyle I suppose. There is loads of info on their website anyway. As previously mentioned, two other reasonable choices are Pure and Marks & Spencer's own brand. I had emails back from both of them regarding their RTSPO participation, but not a lot else, so Biona is number 1 for me.

    The next step for me is maybe this... http://vegan.com/recipes/bryanna-cla...-vegan-butter/ - When I have time I will be making it and using it sparingly! Has anyone tried it?

    Haha the concept of butter from cow's milk being 'natural', never mind 'good' (for humans) is laughable! But yes I've encountered that one as well. It's amazing the ideas that become ingrained in society that literally make no kind of sense...I mean...it's baby food....for a cow! Why on earth would we be eating it??! Not a response I typically use when I'm trying to respond to criticism in a constructive and mature way, but it's nice to be able to say it on here :-P

  35. #85

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    Default Re: Palm Oil

    The Nutiva company now offers Organic Red Palm Oil and they are generally trusted as being sustainable and health conscious. Their Red Palm Oil is sourced from Ecuador where orangutans don't live. So if you intend to use Red Palm Oil I suggest getting Nutiva.

    Here is a link with their information http://nutiva.com/articles/nutiva-in...-red-palm-oil/

  36. #86

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    Default Re: Palm Oil

    Hello, I haven't posted in a while, what's the verdict on Earth Balance? http://www.earthbalancenatural.com/r...lity/palm-oil/

  37. #87
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    Quote Vegabond View Post
    Hello, I haven't posted in a while, what's the verdict on Earth Balance? http://www.earthbalancenatural.com/r...lity/palm-oil/
    It is vegan as it doesn't contain animal products. Some people avoid palm oil, some don't.
    Houmous atá ann!

  38. #88
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    Default Re: Palm Oil

    Quote Blueberries View Post
    It is vegan as it doesn't contain animal products. Some people avoid palm oil, some don't.
    ^Agree.
    For those of you who are avoiding palm oil due to it being so called 'non-vegan' as it's removing habitat for wildlife and causing the destruction of wildlife, then if we used that as our mantra, we would probably only eat food grown locally, and not disturb any wildlife habitat or use any mechanised transportation to move the food. We would be more like Jains.
    I am appalled at the palm industry and the way the countryside has been left for orangutans, but agriculture has pushed out so many insect and bird species to the brink of extinction, and that's just for our wheat, oats and nowadays, rapeseed, and the sad thing is a lot of countries don't produce for themselves, they export their production and then import the same stuff later.
    So please campaign against palm oil, but it is vegan, and it is a valid food option. We just have to think carefully about how we use it, how it's grown and what we are doing to the habitats of the animals that live in the area where it is cultivated.

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