Just last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that it is holding companies to a strict three-year deadline to stop using trans fats in their products. This change may be good for our health, but it could be disastrous for our wild animal friends.
Palm oil is commonly used as a substitute for trans fats. Since the US food industry began cutting out significant amounts of trans fats in last decade, there has been a dramatic rise in palm oil consumption within the United States, with a climb of 352 percent imported between 2002 and 2012.
Now that partially hydrogenated oils are being banned completely, it is expected that this increase will continue to spike. Unfortunately, millions of acres have already been cleared in countries like Indonesia and Malaysia to meet demand for palm oil, and now that demand is poised to expand again.
Over the past 18 months, dozens of companies have responded to advocates like you asking for palm oil not linked to forest destruction. If we are to protect the forests that remain, it’s more crucial than ever that these companies meet their commitments to using palm oil that’s deforestation-free.
Support companies that are doing their part to make sure their products aren’t destroying habitat for wildlife and ask them to share their progress. With your help, we can make sure iconic animals like orangutans, gorillas, and tigers are still around for many more years to come.
By Nicole DeMentri, Conservation Associate