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Labeling Legislation Would Inform Australians of Palm Oil Risks

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Labeling Legislation Would Inform Australians of Palm Oil Risks

A recent bill proposed by Australian lawmakers requires all foods containing palm oil, a health and environmental risk, to feature a special label. If the bill is passed, shoppers will be informed of the risks involved with consuming the oil, and manufacturers will be urged to be more environmentally sustainable.

According to Radio Australia, palm oil contains 50 percent saturated fat, although it's labeled as a vegetable oil. Senator Nick Xenophon, one of the bill's largest supporters, said in Stock and Land that Australians unintentionally consume 10 kilograms of palm oil each year.

However, many are concerned that if the bill does pass, Australia will suffer from strained relationships with countries that produce the oil. World Wildlife Federation's Irwan Gunawan dismisses the issue, however, claiming the production of palm oil has had an impact on the global environment and rainforests in Indonesia and Malaysia, Care 2 reported.

"[Mandatory labeling] is deemed as a trade barrier," Gunawan told Radio Australia. "But from the perspective of the conservation organizations, it is the time to start encouraging and trying to do better practices on the ground. So this kind of reaction would come from the business community."

Recently, Mattel came under fire after word got out that its packaging materials were sourced from protected regions, such as Indonesian rainforests. Greenpeace launched a campaign against the toy company, displaying a banner on the its headquarters in El Segundo, California.