Palm oil petition to be launched
A worker collects palm fruit at a plantation owned by a private company in Langkat of Indonesia's north Sumatra province (Reuters)
A group calling for the Government to require mandatory labelling of palm oil products is set to launch a petition with the help of the Green Party.
Unmask Palm Oil, led by Pakuranga College students, is lobbying for a change to current food labelling rules, which allow palm oil to be labelled as a scientific name or as "vegetable oil".
The current labelling makes it impossible for consumers to avoid products containing the oil – the production of which is destroying rainforests in Indonesia and Malaysia – the habitats of endangered species, including the orangutan, the group says.
Green Party food spokesperson Mojo Mathers, who will attend the petition launch on Wednesday evening, says many consumers want to avoid palm oil because of its environmental impacts.
"Companies have an ethical obligation to fully disclose if their products contain palm oil with upfront labelling," Ms Mathers says.
"If they are using palm oil from certified sustainable sources, there is nothing to stop companies including that information on the label as well," said Ms Mathers.
Unmask Palm Oil has successfully lobbied NZ First to adopt a palm oil labelling policy, and is also hoping to get Labour's support.
It will present the petition to Parliament in August.