How the palm oil industry has taken a leaf out of Big Tobacco’s book
The latest studies suggest palm oil is not healthy — and the methods used to farm it are not healthy for the environment
Geneva — The palm oil industry is deploying tactics similar to those of the alcohol and tobacco industries to influence research into the health effects of its product, a study published by the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Tuesday. Evidence of the health impact of palm oil is mixed, with some studies linking consumption to several ailments, including increased risk of death from heart disease caused by narrowing arteries, the report said. The study, “The palm oil industry and non-communicable diseases”, called for more research and tighter regulation of the $60bn industry, and said researchers should be wary of being influenced by lobbyists. “The relationship between the palm oil and processed food industries, and the tactics they employ, resembles practices adopted by the tobacco and alcohol industries. However, the palm oil industry receives comparatively little scrutiny,” it said. Oil palm plantations, mainly in Malaysia and Indonesia, cover an area roughly the size of...
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