MPOC urges labelling of No Palm Oil labels to be off shelves

by AUFA MARDHIAH / pic courtesy of MPOC

THE Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) urges local retailers and supermarkets to avoid false or misleading statements in their labelling or advertisement pertaining to palm oil.

The council also urged Malaysia’s biggest supermarket chain, Mydin, to raise awareness and vow to remove deceptive products off its shelves.

This is due to products with “No Palm Oil” labels now being sold widely despite the government’s laborious effort to promote the goodness of palm oil.

MPOC CEO Wan Aishah Wan Hamid said: “The attack on palm oil and the labelling of ‘No Palm Oil’, ‘Palm Oil Free’ or ‘Does Not Contain Palm Oil’ by European manufacturers or local supermarket chains is deeply regrettable, as it not only undermines the credibility of Malaysia’s golden oil but also feeds the hate campaign orchestrated by Western countries against the world’s second-largest palm oil producer.

“On Oct 31, 2019, the Cabinet passed a regulation prohibiting the use of negative connotations regarding palm oil on product labels. The Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry (KPDNHEP), in partnership with the then-Primary Industries Ministry (now the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities), discovered this unethical behaviour.

“If necessary, depending on the gravity of the situation, the regulation can be expanded into an act or more rigorous law to facilitate enforcement or to commence legal action against goods producers and/or sellers,” she further added.

Palm oil is found in over half of all food and consumer products on Malaysian supermarket shelves, including lipstick, shampoo and soap. However, KPDNHEP enforcement officials discovered 12 goods labelled “Palm Oil Free” or “Does Not Contain Palm Oil” in checks conducted on 2,609 establishments nationwide.

Furthermore, the council urged retailers and supermarket operators to encourage fair competition and balanced marketing by following the Trade Descriptions Act 2011 and the Consumer Protection Act 1999.

The council also encouraged the public to provide a tip-off to the council if they come across any of the aforementioned unfair practices, whether product manufacturers or retailers — due to the difficulty faced by KPDNHEP to prove “insulting food labelling”, “denigratory advertising” or “negative labelling” of palm oil-based food products.

“We have worked so hard to promote palm oil around the world, only to discover that retailers in our own backyard are stocking products with the No Palm Oil label, which is discouraging,” she concluded in a statement today.