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‘Palm oil free’ certification scheme launched

A new certification scheme will allow UK food businesses to market their products as free from palm oil.

The International Palm Oil Free Certification Accreditation Programme (POFCAP) assesses products in order to prove they are 100% palm oil free. Those that are will be able to carry the scheme’s logo, based on an image of young orang-utan.

The process is “time-consuming and complicated” POFCAP warned, but the demand for these products is there. A statement on the website reads:

“The complicated and contentious concerns surrounding the use of palm oil, the impact the harvesting of the product has on the rainforests and wildlife – and in turn consumer demand for such accreditation – was the driving force behind the motivation to research, develop and trademark the certification process that has evolved over the past eight years.”

Palm oil is now the most widely used vegetable oil on the planet, accounting for 65% of all vegetable oil traded internationally and usage is expected to double by 2020.

However, in recent years the commodity has been linked with deforestation and child labour as demand soars. The use of certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO) is increasing, but the progress has been “slow and arduous”, noted POFCAP.

The most recent assessment conducted by the WWF showed that only a couple of foodservice businesses have made progress towards sourcing only CSPO.