KUALA LUMPUR: Companies that are currently using the “Palm Oil Free” or “No Palm Oil” labels on their products packaging would eventually remove the label in the next three to four years.
The commodity was good and certainly sustainable, and this was scientifically proven, said Founder and Curiosity Officer of Competere, Dr Pietro Paganini.
“So far there is no sustainable plantation than oil palm, so when you think of banning palm oil, you are wrong. Instead, you should say let’s make it better,” he told Bernama during a palm oil seminar here today.
Competere, based in Rome, Italy, is a platform of professionals producing analysis and research to innovate production processes and improve the quality of life and environment.
Earlier at the seminar, Paganini presented a paper titled “Addressing Europe’s No Palm Oil Labels: Challenges, Strategies and Outcomes”.
He said most of the companies that displayed the label on their products argued that palm oil was harmful to the consumers.
The truth was that the companies knew that palm oil was not harmful, he said, but due to intense competition in the vegetable oils market, they were confusing the consumers and this was a discrimination against palm oil.
“My belief is that within three to four years, when everybody sort of use the ‘free from’ label, they would stop because it is no longer a competitive marketing strategy and no longer an advantage.
“The question is, how does Malaysia speed up this process, because while it is damaging the country it is also misleading the consumers,” he said.
Towards that end, Paganini said Malaysia should help the consumers in understanding the situation and simultaneously work on the legal side to fight the discrimination and engage with the policymakers.
“Palm oil be it from Malaysia or Indonesia, should have a fair debate,” he stressed.
Paganini also praised Italian company, Ferrero, which manufactures Nutella for defending palm oil and use the commodity in its products.
“Nutella is a good product and palm oil is one of the reasons that makes it good. The company needs palm oil and they are doing an incredible good work to promote the commodity.
“They have also reduced the level of contaminants, which should be a benchmark for other companies,” he added. — Bernama