(These are orphaned orangutans rescued from palm oil plantations (partially funded by donations to Orangutan Outreach at redapes.org) who are now being nursed back to health, trained and rehabilitated for a return to safely protected forests.)
The law of unintended consequences strikes again (a la Dr. Oz). The FDA, in a move designed to curtail heart disease (in humans), has proposed a rulemaking that will ban trans fats in foods — at the expense of other species. Although it gets a bit technical, trans fats come from hydrogenated vegetable oils, which means these liquid vegetable oils are converted into a solid that helps extend the efficacy and shelf life of processed food, like frozen pizzas, etc.
What’s a good substitute, though? “Palm kernel oil, which is solid at room temperature and has become a popular substitute for trans fats, might work in some cases but some products might have to be dropped,” according to a story on Yahoo news (cited below — I’m no Rand Paul).
At any rate, the Indonesian and Malaysian palm oil lobby is jumping for joy.
In Asia, home to the world’s biggest palm oil producers Indonesia and Malaysia, industry officials said exports of the tropical product will rise if the FDA proposal is approved.
“In the U.S., they use close to three million tonnes of oil to convert into fatty acids and if they have to replace it, palm oil takes over that market to a large extent,” said one Singapore-based edible oil trader.
Palm oil producers said the possible FDA ban on trans fats vindicates them after years of being kept out by the powerful soybean lobby in the Americas over concerns that palm oil brings about more heart disease…
Finally, we will get a chance to get into the U.S. market in a big way after the soy lobby tried to block our shipments,” said a trader with a listed palm oil firm in Kuala Lumpur…
Palm oil exports to the U.S. have grown over the years as they are substitute for trans fat, traders said…
“It will be good news for Indonesia’s palm oil exports and bad news for other vegetable oils which have lower melting point,” said Derom Bangun, chairman of Indonesian Palm Oil Board. Our palm oil exports could double to 40,000 tonnes a
So less trans fats for Americans means more palm oil-wrought devastation for high conservation value rainforests and the critically endangered species who inhabit them! The remaining rainforests of Southeast Asia (and now Africa and South America) thank you FDA for thinking of ever-fattening Americans — with their shameless (shameful?), gluttonous, ever-expanding-waistline-eating habits and related propensity for heart disease — over the lives of the critically endangered species that will suffer (see again the above Youtube video of my adopted orang, Rickina, whose mother was apparently killed as a palm oil plantation pest) when their rainforest habitat is chopped down by greedy palm oil companies just itching to invade the US market.
(Some of this palm oil destruction has already occurred after the FDA issued trans fats labeling back in the 2000s, but this ban WILL SIMPLY just exacerbate the problem!
What to do?
Write public comments to the FDA during this 60 day public comment period. The NGO’s are working on strategy now.
Here’s THE Link to comment:
Here’s the FDA’s pronouncement and findings: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/11/08/2013-26854/tentative-determination-regarding-partially-hydrogenated-oils-request-for-comments-and-for
UPDATE: The FDA has extended the comment period another 60 days until March 8. So get your comments in!