Palm oil podcast

Palm oil– which has long been a staple of diets in Africa, Southeast Asia and parts of Brazil– is increasingly being used in food processing in the rest of the world.  It is valued for its cheapness, and its property of congealing at room temperature.

Since the discovery that oils processed through hydrogenation can be linked to heart disease, palm oil has been creeping as a substitute into processed food and food products like margarine, potato chips, cakes, and crackers.  Hydrogenation converts liquid vegetable oils to solid or semi-solid fats, whereas palm oil "hardens" naturally.

Palm oil often lurks in the ingredient description of many processed food products under the umbrella term of "vegetable oils."

It has been targeted by environmentalists for its impacts on deforestation, habitat loss of endangered species, increased greenhouse gas emissions.

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) was founded with the aim of promoting the growth and use of sustainable oil palm products through global standards and certification.

For more information about palm oil, listen to the Monday 31 October episode of the Food Programme podcast, sponsored by the BBC Radio 4.


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This blog is maintained by reference librarians of the David Lubin Memorial Library, Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN. Entries in this blog are for discussion purposes only. They express the views of their author(s) and not necessarily that of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The designations employed in this blog do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. Links to other web sites are provided for the user's convenience and do not constitute endorsement of material at those sites, or any associated organisation, product or service.
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