Going palm oil free
Is it possible to completely avoid palm oil?

It’s not just supermarkets …

I’m conscious that this blog could just end up posing more questions than answers. But it’s not just packaged supermarket goods that form part of my weekly diet. There’s no ingredients list in cafes, restaurants or deli counters.

This is where it goes from tricky to trickier. At Sainsbury’s I have failed with packaged sausage rolls and passed with veggie samosas, but could I be sure I was palm oil free if I went to the deli counter? At this stage, no I couldn’t. Long term, it depends on the sustainability policy of the individual supermarket, but if I’m to take the challenge of going guaranteed palm oil free for a period of time, the deli stuff will have to go.

But what about eating out? This blogger has sophisticated tastes, and found himself looking for fast food for lunch at the weekend. Is palm oil becoming part of the ingredients for fast food joints and chain restaurants? No detailed ingredients lists here, so research is needed.

I’m an ordinary guy, not a scientist (well, for the purposes of this blog that’s true anyway). So for me, research starts with google. It *seems* that McDonalds is palm oil free, using rapeseed and sunflower oil http://www.makeupyourownmind.co.uk/questions/whats-in-the-food/hydrogenated-oil/#question4.

I’m not sure about KFC though – rumoured to have been using palm oil for many years. A recent article suggests that in Australia KFC have finally ditched palm oil (published just six days ago) http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/wellbeing/finally-kfc-opts-for-the-good-oil-20090616-cdla.html but is this official global company policy yet?

Both the articles above mention the RSPO (round table for sustainable palm oil), which is an important organisation in the production and certification of sustainable palm oil. Expect me to blog a lot more about that in the future. But the use of sustainable palm oil, though an obvious important ultimate goal in the protection of Borneo’s rainforest habitat, is not part of my specific mission to avoid it entirely.

What about pizza? Pizza Express – its supermarket branded products such as dough balls contain palm oil. That’s a fail. Domino’s Pizza? It seems palm oil is used in the tomato purees, if online articles from 2007 are still accurate. Another fail.

There is method in my selection of outlets, since KFC, Domino’s and Pizza Express represent the biggest takeaway and restaurant chains in my home town. I can’t see myself being able to delve down into detail for individual restaurants, but understanding the palm oil policies of these three outlets will go a long way to helping me understand the likelihood of palm oil presence in other establishments.

Since before deciding to start this blog I sent e-mails to relevant establishments. Sainsbury’s, Dominos and Starbucks (specifically asking about bakery items). I have had no replies …

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