I took issue with Lactaid actually being able to say this with a straight metaphorical face:
We do not directly purchase palm oil (PO) or palm kernel oil (PKO) but rather ingredients that are derived from PO and PKO.”
It’s logically absurd, I maintained, writing back:
Do you think that gets you OFF THE HOOK for palm oil devastation? That’s like a cook saying they get their sweetener from corn syrup, which is derived from cornstarch but not from the actual fleshy part of the corn kernel that is part of the whole corn stalk.
Well, they agreed. And clearly they feel a bit responsible. Here’s their response:
Sorry for any confusion about the source of this ingredient. Johnson & Johnson Consumer, Inc. has an obligation to preserve the environment and we are implementing programs across the world to limit our footprint and environmental impact. In 2014 we published our Responsible Palm Oil Sourcing Criteria and engaged The Forest Trust to work with us and our largest suppliers to share supply chain information and assess compliance with our sourcing criteria which prohibits development in High Carbon Stock forests, peatlands and burning as a method to clear land for new developments or to re-plant. We do not directly purchase palm oil (PO) or palm kernel oil (PKO) but rather ingredients that are derived from PO and PKO.
Johnson & Johnson Consumer, Inc. has removed one supplier for noncompliance with our standards and we will continue to take appropriate measures to verify conformance and engage with other companies and NGOs to promote responsible palm oil production to address the environmental impact.
You can learn more about our work with The Forest Trust at: http://www.tft-transparency.org/member/johnson-johnson/?product=palm-oil.
We hope this is helpful.
Original Post: 8/18/2017
Who knew? My girlfriend has been forcing me to buy Lactaid for a few months now. Ever since I started using her new coffee machine (Nespresso; and, yes, we recycle/compost all the single use capsules), I’ve used the milk. But something didn’t seem right. If this wasn’t genuine milk, what else was in there? Sure enough, it’s vitamin A palmitate. Note the root word: palm. So I wrote a message to Lactaid on FB.
I bought your milk. I was shocked it contains vitamin A palmitate. From the root word seemingly palm, does your company derive this from rainforest-destroying palm oil? Orangutans are dying in the deforestation of their habitat, indigenous people are being enslaved in plantations. Global warming is exacerbated. Please tell me the source of your palm oil. Thank you.
What I got back shows a decidedly low brow take, not to mention a frighteningly uneducated “guess” on the palm oil query.
Hi, XXXX! We replied to your comments, but wanted to make sure you knew we saw your message as well. The Vitamin A Palmitate in our products is a natural fatty acid and not derived from palm oil. We hope the rest of your day goes well!
Woops! We mixed up our words a bit there The Vitamin A Palmitate is derived from palm oil, but is not made from palm trees. Sorry about that!
Wait, what? Palm oil that doesn’t come from the fruit of oil palm trees? I was incredulous, so I wrote back:
Wait, what? So where does your palm oil come from? I’d bet it DOES come from oil palm trees that are causing the deforestation in Indonesia/Malaysia, and creeping around the world
They wrote back, referring me to their corporate master’s statement on palm oil, but still sticking to their totally bogus claim that palm oil doesn’t come from palm trees (you know, the ones destroying the rainforests?).
Johnson & Johnson
As a branded personal products manufacturer and supplier, Johnson & Johnson Consumer, Inc. (J&J) sources ingredients derived from palm and palm kernel oil that are used to manufacture products like shampoos, moisturisers, soaps and liquid body wash. These ingredients – including soap noodles, surfactants, emulsifiers and other oleo chemicals – are all derivatives of the palm oil refining process. The high presence of palm kernel oil and the large number of refining steps in the supply chains for these ingredients makes traceability significantly more difficult than with many palm oil based food products. However, since the issuance of J&J’s palm oil sourcing criteria – drafted with TFT’s support – J&J and TFT have been working together to engage the largest suppliers and enhance transparency in the supply chains for these ingredients. As visibility back to palm oil mills is achieved, TFT will provide insights on potential issues related to the criteria and support J&J and their suppliers as they address potential issues together.
Finally, I was so shocked by their sheer cluelessness — J&J’s OWN page describes palm oil and its supply chain and NEVER dispels the notion that, well, palm oil actually DOES come from oil palm trees.
So I wrote back, asking for comment:
Where in the world do you guys think you did not get your Palm Oil from oil palm trees?! Please educate yourselves; that’s where it comes from and it causes deforestation. I’m boycotting your fucking product and posting all this on my anti-palm oil block. Jesus.
Care to comment knowingly and in an educated matter for my blog piece? Because you guys won’t come out looking too well when you don’t realize that palm oil doesn’t come from oil palm trees. You know, the source of so much deforestation, death, destruction, displacement and exacerbation of global warming.
I’ll publish any comments they may give on this subject. But talk about a disconnect!