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United Kingdom: Government 'greatly concerned' by palm oil production

Source:  Copyright 2009, Independent (UK)
Date:  May 19, 2009
Byline:  Martin Hickman
Original URL: Status ONLINE

The Government has joined calls for Britain's best-selling household groceries to use sustainable palm oil.

The Environment Secretary Hilary Benn said the Government was "greatly concerned' by the impact of palm oil production in South-east Asia, where it causes extensive deforestation and threatens the survival of the orangutan and other rare animals.

Producers chop down forests in Sumatra and Borneo to plant high-yielding oil palms whose oil is poured into food, soaps and skin creams.

As the Independent disclosed earlier this month palm oil is in, or suspected to be in, 43 of the UK's 100 best-selling grocery brands, including Cadbury Dairy Milk, Mr Kipling cakes and Dove soap.

It is often labelled as "vegetable fat' or "vegetable oil,' making it difficult for the public to exercise choice.

In his first intervention in the palm oil debate, Mr Benn told the Independent: "The UK Government is greatly concerned by the ...

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