If you are unaware of the controversy surrounding the use of palm oil, read this article from Friends of the Earth for more information.
I’ve been eating Jordan’s cereal for about a year now, I chose it because it seemed the healthier option in the sugar filled world of Kellogg’s Frosties and Coco Pops. Now, I’m not an activist or anything like that, but I was a bit shocked however to discover that palm oil is used in the cereals and wrote to ask about where it was sourced from, particularly as they are touting that they are “nature friendly”. This is the reply I got:
Thank you for your e-mail regarding our use of palm oil.
In some of our baked cereals and cereal bars we use a small quantity of rape seed oil and palm oil that has been blended together. We use the absolute minimum amount of palm oil needed to ensure our products stay fresh for the longest possible period of time. As a natural food company with over 30 years experience, we have developed an optimal combination of natural ingredients to ensure our products stay fresh, without having to rely on artificial preservatives.
As a business that is also committed to supporting wildlife, we share the very real concerns of many environmentalists regarding the ecological consequences of rainforest deforestation for palm oil production. This is a complex issue involving not only the loss of habitat for the Orangutan and Sumatran tiger, but also the needs of indigenous rural populations and smallholders who, to a large extent, are supported by the palm oil industry.
We are pleased to announce that by the end of 2010 we intend to be using only Certified Sustainable Palm Oil in our products. We are full members of the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and have been since 2006. At present we purchase Green Palm certificates, to ensure certified RSPO palm oil producers add an equivalent volume of certified sustainable palm oil into the overall supply chain equivalent to the small amount used in our products.
We will continue to purchase Green Palm Certificates until we are able to move to using a fully sustainable supply of palm oil later this year. It has only recently become possible for us to start using Certified Sustainable Palm Oil as a result of a new palm oil refinery opening in Merseyside that has the technical capability to mix Sustainable Palm Oil and Rape Seed Oil together, which up until now has not been possible.
Whilst they seem to be doing more than Nestlé to move towards a more sustainable way to use palm oil, I’m still not entirely convinced of their argument. I have made the decision to change to Dorset Cereals instead, where palm oil isn’t used at all. Although it costs a little more, I’d rather have the satisfaction that I’m not contributing towards rainforest destruction in this way.