Xenophon wants to save orangutans with palm oil labelling

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The leader of the Nick Xenophon Political Team is demanding that today’s Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation in Melbourne take urgent steps toward mandatory Palm Oil labelling in Australia.

Mr. Xenophon says palm oil is dangerous to our health, devastating for the planet and fatal for orangutans.

“Australians consume 10 kilos of palm oil every year and just don’t know it. These laws will give consumers the knowledge they need to make an informed choice at the supermarket checkout,” he said.

“Consumers have a right to know for health reasons and for environmental reasons whether the foods they eat or the products they buy contain palm oil.”

“This is not breaking new ground. Mandatory labelling is happening in the EU, in America and in Canada and the results have led to changes in consumer behaviour and new solutions from ingredients to policies,” he said.

Nick Xenophon introduced legislation in 2011 to mandate the labelling of palm oil following the receipt of a petition of more than 100,000 signatures calling for clearer labelling of palm oil, given its environmental and health impacts.

He also convinced the Federal Coalition to support labelling of palm oil in all Australian foods, and the legislation was passed in the Senate but stalled in the Lower House. NXT continues to fight for the legislation to be passed and continues to negotiate with the Government and Opposition.

Founder of Australia’s Orangutan Alliance and responsible food system advocate Maria Abadilla is dedicated to saving Borneo’s Orangutans and finding new solutions to the palm oil debate.

Maria vividly recalls choking on acrid black smoke during rainforest burn-offs and it was in that moment, that she decided to take action.

“We hear the arguments that the cost of adoption for the industry will be massive, but what is the cost of the planet? There are different ways you can implement mandatory labeling,” she said.

“This one issue brings together health concerns, human rights, climate change and animal rights. We understand it’s a complex issue but unfortunately, it’s also an ecological emergency. The time has come to introduce mandatory labelling. Australian consumers deserve to have a choice and for different industries to respond with new solutions and policies.”

Ms. Abadilla predicts palm oil free labelling will spark the creation of new food manufacturing crops, techniques and industries.

During her visit to Australia earlier this year, Dr. Jane Goodall spoke about the need for mandatory labelling of palm oil and what the Jane Goodall Institute Australia (JGIA) is doing about the problem.

Nancy Moloney, CEO of JGIA says families deserve choice.

“Preventing the destruction of forests where orangutans and other species live is something that all Australians can act upon simply by insisting on labelling products that contain palm oil.”

Palm Oil Investigations Lorinda Jane says Orangutans are facing complete extinction.

“Palm oil production could completely kill off all wild Orangutans in just 10 years,” she said.

The demand for palm oil by globally is rapidly destroying Orangutan habitats in Indonesia and Malaysia.  If we don’t put a stop to this soon we will witness the extinction of these extraordinary primates in a matter of years.