Kuala Lumpur – The EU’s Food Information to Consumers (FIC) Regulation will increase education and transparency about palm oil in Europe, which is welcomed by the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC). Palm oil is an important ingredient in many products in Europe and MPOC welcomes the fact that European consumers will be better informed about the many benefits and uses of Malaysian palm oil.
2015 will be a landmark year for the Malaysian Palm Oil industry. The development of the new Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) standard provides further reassurance of sustainability, and proof of Malaysia’s leadership in the global palm oil industry. MSPO highlights the important role of the Malaysian Palm Oil industry in providing jobs and economic development, including for 300,000 small farmers, while maintaining commitments to sustainability and environmental protection.
MPOC also looks forward to supporting the industry’s efforts in Europe, during 2015, to educate and provide better information to consumers about palm oil.
The CEO of MPOC, Dr Yusof Basiron, said:
“Producers of Malaysian Palm Oil are very comfortable with the new requirement for palm oil to be labelled in the EU, under the FIC Regulation. Malaysia’s palm oil industry is proud to supply European companies and consumers with high-quality, responsibly produced palm oil from both small farmers and larger producers.”
Regulators in Europe must be mindful that the FIC be properly enforced. Rogue labels exist in Europe, which are not provided for under the FIC Regulation. Some companies in France and Belgium – such as Casino or Delhaize – use additional labels on foods bearing the statement ‘No Palm Oil’. This is not consistent with the vegetable oil labeling provision under FIC. These labels do not serve a consumer information purpose: they are intended purely to unfairly denigrate the image of palm oil and misinform consumers.
Dr Yusof Basiron, continued:
“Legal experts have explained that the current ‘No Palm Oil’ labels in Europe are illegal under FIC. Following the deadline of 13th December, we expect appropriate actions from regulators in France and Belgium to remove these labels – protecting both consumers and businesses in Europe from these unfair labeling practices.”
Producers and food retailers, including Galler, Delhaize, Limagrain and Casino, have used ‘no palm oil’ labels on some products in France and Belgium, and have made negative claims in the media regarding palm oil. The Malaysian Palm Oil Council finds the actions of these companies and others discriminatory, and inconsistent with the new EU FIC Regulation. Regulators in both France and Belgium should act to properly enforce the FIC, and remove these labels.
The Malaysian Palm Oil Council commissioned a legal analysis of these labels by the renowned global law firm, Hogan Lovells, and has found that the labels violated the FIC Regulation, as well as multiple other EU laws, and national laws in France and Belgium