Is Palm Oil still necessary?
Palm oil has a high resistance to oxidation and, therefore, a long shelf life. It is a common ingredient in many foods and is used as a frying fat in the snack and fast food industries. The main non-food uses of palm oil have traditionally been in the manufacture of soaps and detergents and even candles. More recently, palm oils are being used as an alternative to mineral oils in power stations.
Why is palm oil considered bad?
Environmentalists argue that palm oil is extremely bad for the planet. This is because to acquire palm oil, oil palm trees are farmed. 8% of the world’s deforestation between 1900 and 2008 is said to be the fault of palm oil. This is because forests are burned where oil palm trees can be grown. This means that animals such as orang-utans, rhinoceroses, elephants and tigers lose their habitat. Consequently, there is less biodiversity.
Also, palm oil isn’t even good for you: it is very high in saturated fats.
Palm oil could also be considered a contributing factor to global warming, because the fires used to burn the forest for oil palm production releases high levels of carbon dioxide and black carbon (soot) into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change.
Can palm oil be considered good?
Whilst growing, it is reported that oil palm trees do not require as many pesticides or fertilisers to be used. Also, the palm oil industry offers jobs to people living in poverty in developing countries.
What can be used instead of palm oil?
Olive oil can be used to make soap instead of palm oil. The only difference between the two soaps are that olive oil soap takes longer to set. In fact, olive oil soap has much better durability than palm-based soaps.
Olive oil can also be used as a substitute in low-heat cooking. However, olive oil degrades in high heat so can’t be used for high-heat cooking. For high-heat cooking, canola oil is very effective. It can be used for frying and it is healthy because it is high in unsaturated fat and low in saturated fat. It also contains a lot of healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
Cocoa butter can be used to make soaps and desserts. It can also be used as a solid fat. It has a long shelf life because it contains a high number of antioxidants.
So, the question is, with all of these sustainable substitutes, is palm oil really necessary anymore?