Target: U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Goal: Require packaging labels for products containing palm oil
Orangutans are one of the most closely related species to humans, but sadly due to human activity, their natural habitats are shrinking and they are in danger of extinction. One of the main causes of deforestation in Sumatra and Borneo, the orangutan’s home environments, is the clearing of space for palm oil plantations. In recent decades, palm oil has become a prominent ingredient in many household products and foods, leading to rising demand for plantations, and therefore more deforestation. Palm oil is not essential to most of the products it is used in, it is simply a cheaper option, and in the case of food it is usually the less healthy option. Informative labels combined with educational campaigns could make a difference in palm oil consumption, and help to preserve the orangutan’s habitat.
Orangutans live in dense, bio-diverse tropical jungles. They are tree-dwellers, meaning they spend most of their lives in the forest canopy. Without a lush jungle environment, the orangutan would not survive in the wild, and right now their jungles are under attack. There are many reasons for deforestation, such as clearing space for roads and settlements, however palm oil plantations are the least necessary and the most destructive. The public should be aware of the devastating effects of palm oil plantations on the environment, and they should be aware of what products contain palm oil.
Consumers should be able to make informed decisions about their purchases, and the environmental impact of palm oil is important information to know. Products that have such a profound effect on natural ecosystems should be labeled, and together with educational campaigns, the public can shift demand away from environmentally hazardous products. We urge the FDA to require informative labels on all products containing palm oil.
Dear Food and Drug Administration,
Palm oil is a cheap alternative to other vegetable oils and in recent times has become an ingredient in many different products, from gasoline to candy bars. Unfortunately, palm oil producers have been clearing large amounts of tropical rainforest in Sumatra and Borneo, which has endangered the native orangutan. Palm oil is not essential to any food, much less the human diet, and it is not essential to any other domestic products; consumers should be informed about their purchases, and the used of palm oil is important information for consumers to have.
Together with educational campaigns, informative labels for products containing palm oil would allow the public to make better decisions in the marketplace, and could shift demand away from environmentally devastating palm oil. We urge the FDA to require informative packaging labels for all products containing palm oil.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: ahisgett via Flickr