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Spotting palm oil derivatives



Much of the palm oil we consume appears in a number of processed forms, ‘derivatives’ of the oil itself.

These 200 or so different substances make up about 60% of global palm oil use. The names obscure the source, so it is hard to tell if you are consuming a product from palm oil or not.

But, as palm oil campaign site selvabeat.com says: “the ultimate trick to being able to spot palm-oil derivatives in most things lies in recognising the building blocks”.



Memorising the four words above will help you spot over half of the fatty acid compounds that are often made from palm oil. Spotting an ingredient whose name includes one of these root words does not mean it is definitely made from palm, but is a clue which can be followed up by contacting the company.

See Selva Beat for some top tips for contacting companies and for Palm Oil Bingo!



Other actions


Tweet companies – Tweet companies – follow links from WWF’s 2016 scorecard. 


Join the Rainforest Action Network's campaign to cut Conflict Palm Oil from snack food - RAN wants palm oil to be free of deforestation, expansion on carbon-rich peatlands and human rights violations including modern-day slavery.


Take the 28 Day Palm Oil Challenge – to reduce conflict palm oil consumption. Each week for four weeks you’ll receive a link to a short video, which focuses on products used in different parts of the home that may contain palm oil: the ‘pantry’, fridge, bathroom, and ‘laundry’. You’ll find a discussion of the issues, DIY recipes, and a chat room so you can talk to other participants from around the world. You can donate $10, or take part for free. 

Follow the newssustainablepalmoil.org is a good source. Check also their Twitter feed.


Product Guides 

palm oil special report

Ethical Ratings of Biscuits, Ice Cream, Butter & Spreads

The Product Guides in this report share a common ingredient with an estimated 50% of supermarket products: palm oil.

Read More



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