Products labelled “palm oil-free” have now been banned

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  • 28 Aug 2019 12:00 AM
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Indonesia Bans Products Labelled ‘Palm Oil-free’, in a Move Welcomed by Industry

The Indonesian government has banned food labelled as being “palm oil-free,” in its latest push to protect the commodity against a growing consumer backlash. The Drug and Food Control Agency (BPOM) has said it has ordered checks at retail outlets nationwide. It justified the move with the claim that the term “palm oil-free” implies that a food product is healthier which constitutes misleading labelling. The Ministry of Trade has followed up with inspections at a dozen supermarkets in Jakarta, resulting in the removal of goods. University of Indonesia economist, Fithra Faisal Hastiadi, has said that this could backfire as other countries could deem it a non-tariff measure, a technical barrier to trade, and file a dispute with the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Indonesia, as the world’s biggest producer of palm oil, has made a large effort to support the industry regarding the issues around widespread deforestation, land grabs, and labour rights abuses.

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