THE Consumer Choice Centre (CCC), a non-profit consumer advocacy group, is urging consumers to empower themselves with accurate and comprehensive information before forming opinions about everyday products like palm oil.
In this regard, consumers and industries alike must be diligent in cutting through the noise to reveal the true value of products, according to CCC representative Tarmizi Anuwar.
Commenting on a recent article in Berita Harian by Dr Roger Clemens highlighting the misunderstanding and misinformation surrounding palm oil, Tarmizi said:
“Palm oil is a staple in drug development, vital for medical advances and a case study in the growing need for sustainable practices. However, the story around palm oil today is rife with misinformation and false allegations. A deeper scrutiny is not just essential but a responsibility we all have to share.”
CCC advocates for a proactive, informed approach to consumer choices, particularly those concerning contentious products like everyday items and daily consumables.
While palm oil significantly contributes to the economy – especially in Southeast Asia – it often comes under criticism for its environmental impact despite Global Forest Watch recently reporting a sharp reduction in forest loss in Malaysia.
Some 83% of palm oil refining capacity in the country is now operating under a “No Deforestation, Peat and Exploitation (NDPE)” commitment.
Nutritional value ignored
Elsewhere, Tarmizi said criticisms levelled at palm oil also frequently neglect palm oil’s nutritional and pharmaceutical advantages.
For instance, recent attention has focused on palmitic acid, a component of palm oil that is also a core ingredient in the formulation of painkillers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen. Moreover, established health organisations, including the World Health Organization (WHO), has stated that palm oil poses no significant health risks if consumed in moderation.
“The challenges facing the palm oil industry intersect with our lifestyle, our ethics and our health. Let’s not forget that palmitic acid is prevalent in various oils and serves as an essential energy source, especially during early life. Understanding its broader context is crucial for a balanced perspective,” explained Tarmizi.
“CCC is committed to helping both consumers and industries navigate the complexities surrounding palm oil and similar products. Our aim is to promote transparent dialogues and advocate for consumer trust and market integrity.”
In a world of sensational headlines and rapidly changing public opinion, CCC offers consumer rights advocacy support and expertise to industries, regulators and brands. The centre encourages both consumers and industries to publish accurate and comprehensive information responsibly, therefore enabling choices based on a well-rounded understanding rather than popular sentiment. – Sept 21, 2023