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The Italians fighting against an 'invasion' of palm oil

December 9, 2015

The Italians fighting against an 'invasion' of palm oil

Sarah Hucal
Wednesday 9 December 2015 05.00 GMT

Mozzarella, ciabatta, Parma ham … when considering Italy’s culinary landscape, palm oil is unlikely to feature high on the list – if at all. Yet the Mediterranean country is the EU’s second largest (pdf) importer of the oil, which some estimate is found in 90% of biscuits and baked goods in Italian supermarkets.

Not everyone in Italy is happy about this, with critics voicing concerns over the health impacts of an ingredient high in saturated fat as well as over the commodity’s links to deforestation in south-east Asia. A survey earlier this year, for example, found (pdf) 37% of those polled in Italy considered palm oil to be bad for the environment, up from 18% last year.

Is “palm oil free” the way forward?

With such a complicated subject, it’s not surprising Italy is divided over how best to approach palm oil.

Over the past year more than 160,000 people have signed a “stop the invasion of palm oil” petition created by Italian online magazine Il Fatto Alimentare. The magazine has been campaigning to reduce the use of palm oil in food products on health and environmental grounds, compiling lists of biscuits and other snack foods made without the oil.

Read more at The Guardian.

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