Palm oil is an edible product that plays a significant role in the world’s consumption of food products.
As an ingredient, palm oil has become difficult to avoid almost everywhere. It is in all manner of supermarket food items: from biscuits, chocolate, ice cream, bread, to baked goods. And, the demand for palm oil for food continues to rise worldwide, outstripping other vegetable oils.
What does it mean? It clearly indicates that palm oil has characteristics which are not ready replaceable.
Thanks to the given-circumstance, Indonesia, and other major producers, will continuously gain benefits as nearly 80% of palm oil we produce goes to food manufacturing.
In parallel with this rising demand, there is a need for ensuring food safety in the palm oil industry. Consumers today are more cognizant of the importance of food safety with regard to food intake. Increasingly, they need to ensure that their food is free from any contamination and is healthy to consume.
We, as responsible producing countries, acknowledge these food safety challenges. Efforts to meet acceptable standards have been striven. Today’s Forum on 3-MCPD and GE is part of the endeavours.
Various proven technologies to mitigate the formation of 3-MCPDs have been fabricated. Various mitigation strategies and recommended practices have been much presented.
Why the mitigation of 3-MCPD is now of paramount importance? On the issue of food safety, the global market has evidently started to raise the bar.
We are aware that the EU is proposing a regulation to set maximum limits of 3-MCPD of 2,500 µg/kg for palm oil to be used as food ingredients. Once approved, the regulation shall enter into force from January 2021.
Part of the reason is because the EU remains a major export destination of palm oil. Approximately around 6 million tonnes of tropical fats are refined across Europe, with 90% refined in the EU.
Without question, we oppose the EU’s proposal to set another limit of 1,250 µg/kg for soft oils and local vegetable oils produced in EU. This is discriminatory. Consumers will be misled to perceive palm oil as bad compared to the other vegetable oils having lower limit.
CPOPC is of the view that one maximum level at 2,500 µg/kg for all vegetable oils should be adopted as the acceptable safety limit for consumption.
The 3-MCPD has been another crucible for palm oil industry. Palm oil has been vilifed as vegetable oil of deforestation. We know that is wrong and misleading. Therefore we should not allow palm oil to be linked to health risks.