Australian and New Zealand zoos call for palm oil labelling

16 August 2016  •  Author(s): Roy Manuell

New Zealand zoos today joined several Australian institutions in calling for increased transparency with respect to palm oil labelling on food products.


Several New Zealand zoos including Auckland Zoo, Hamilton Zoo, Wellington Zoo and Orana Wildlife Park have offered support to a campaign fronted by Unmask Palm Oil, an activist group that has called upon zoos to send postcards to the New Zealand Safety Minister Jo Goodhew in an attempt to provoke change.

Ben Dowdle, founder of Unmask Palm Oil said in a statement that “clear labelling is the best step forward,” and that “every New Zealander should be able to choose what’s in their food,” he added.

It is thought that palm oil can be found in around half of all products available in supermarkets in Australia and New Zealand but crucially is currently labelled as “vegetable oil”.

The reason behind the campaign and any controversy are the environmental implications of the oil; according to Unmask Palm Oil, the substance was responsible for the deaths of an estimated 1,000 orangutans in South-East Asia each year

The campaign comes in light of a rejected application for the compulsory labelling of palm oil by Food Standards Australia and New Zealand.

Jacquie O’Brien, Zoos Victoria General Manager of Communications, suggested in a statement that 84 per cent of Australians supported labelling, along with 92 per cent of New Zealanders and 50,000 people have signed Zoos Victoria’s petition for more transparent food labelling thus far.

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