Although I rarely ate it in college myself, those college food staples — Top Ramen and Cup Noodles — contain palm oil. Proof that it’s freakin’ everywhere. My employer, a small company that tries to emulate the Silicon Valley big boys like Google whenever possible, provides snacks and food to its employees. It’s a very sweet, morale-building gesture that I admire very much. Unfortunately, much of these snacks also have the dubious distinction of containing palm oil. I saw two big boxes of Cup Noodles today in the kitchen, reached for one cup a bit hungry, and was shocked to see palm oil in the ingredients (not really, actually). So I promptly put it back and quickly wrote the Japanese noodle company Nissin an email. Here’s their lightning quick response (sent in the short time it took me to press “send” and to go/return from my garaged car with my “Beware, this Product May Cause Orangutan Extinction” stickers to plaster on said box).
Thank you for contacting us regarding Nissin products. We appreciate the time you took to share your views with us.
We use only the finest ingredients to provide the very best taste. All the ingredients used in our products are approved by the government as safe for consumption. Additionally, all of our Palm Oil suppliers belong to the RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) www.rspo.com.
We welcome feedback from consumers and will forward your comments to our Research & Development department. Thank you for your interest in our products.
RSPO membership means absolutely nothing these days (see below links). Even the WWF (a co-founder of RSPO) has asked for more than mere membership and RSPO certification now, ever since the RSPO just allowed the “sustainable” label to be used in conjunction with secondary deforestation in Indonesia. What absolute rubbish that is.
I will ask the nice person who stocks our company kitchen to reconsider the Cup Noodles purchase (and Mrs. Field’s cookies). Sorry fellow employees. We don’t have the luxury of time on our side.
UPDATE: 6/22/2015: As I mentioned on the Maruchan Noodles post update, today is the Rainforest Action Network’s call-in kickoff week to Maruchan and Nissin. Well, I called Nissin too. They must have gotten some sick pressure already today (only 11:30 AM PT now!) because here’s what they replied to the post I also slammed them with (“No conflict palm oil”) on their FB page (I called them too):
Thank you for your message. We appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts with us.
Nissin USA is committed to being a responsible corporate citizen and to its obligations as a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). We are proud to announce that effective immediately, Nissin USA will begin transitioning to the use of 100% sustainable palm oil by the end of 2016. Further details will be shared in our 2015 RSPO report, which will be publicly available in July.
It’s important to note that thi2 2016 commitment (OK target) is 4 YEARS EARLIER than Maruchan! Plan your purchasing needs accordingly!
- Memo to WWF: Destroying rainforests and peatland for palm oil is not “sustainable” (climate-connections.org)
- Why ‘RSPO Sustainable Palm Oil’ is not responsible (understory.ran.org)
- Avoid Products That Contain Unsustainable Palm Oil (gettingonmysoapbox.wordpress.com)
- Greenpeace statement: RSPO revisions too little and too late (dominicantoday.com)