WHY “NO PALM OIL” LABELING MISLEADS THE CONSUMER
Uthaya M. Kumar, Calin Diaconu, Yusof Basiron, Kalyana Sundram

Abstract
The EU strategy regarding food information to the consumer, formulated under the leadership of DG SANTE, calls for transparency, verifiability, and truthfulness. The ultimate goal is to protect the consumer from making the wrong purchasing decisions. In pursuit of this goal, comprehensive new legislation came into force last December. The spirit of this regulation as well as its concrete procedures question the current practice of putting “No Palm Oil” (NPO) labels on food products. Such labels imply that consumers´ interest is best served if products containing palm oil are avoided. This claim rests on the assumption that palm oil has negative effects on consumer health and the environment. Scientific evidence and market realities do not confirm these claims. Therefore, NPO labels are in all likelihood illegal under current EU legislation and should be banned. However, the current lack of enforcement within the EU on such practices could jeopardize the very principles that govern food labeling legislations.
28 October, 2015
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