Products containing unsustainable palm oil banned by Zoos Victoria

Zoos Victoria have rid their shelves of all Cadbury and Natural Confectionery Company products after manufactures failed to prove that the palm oil used in their products is sustainably sourced. The companies were given 6 months to prove their supply way sustainable, but both refused disclose any information on the origins of their palm oil. Subsequently, their products no longer met the Zoos wildlife-friendly standards.

The ban will include all Zoos Victoria locations, including Melbourne Zoo, Werribee Open Range Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary. Zoos Victoria has been a long time advocate for sustainable palm oil production and reinforces this commitment with their latest move.

Palm oil controversy is ongoing, with many manufactures electing to ditch all palm oil from their products and others finding sustainable sources for the ingredient. An often unseen ingredient, palm oil is commonly listed on labels as ‘vegetable oil’ and is found in a range of products, from food to cosmetics. Some figures estimate that over half of all products on supermarket shelves contain palm oil. Harvesting of the commonly used oil is known to cause large-scale habitat destruction and deforestation, leading to the rapid decline in numbers of orangutans, tigers, elephants and gibbons.  

Dr Jenny Gray, CEO of Zoos Victoria highlighted that "95 per cent of Australians want clear mandatory labelling of palm oil, so they can make an informed decision on what they consume," and is calling for stricter regulation on labelling requirements. She argues that mandatory labelling of palm oil will force companies to use sustainable palm oil, however calls for new legislation have been turned down for the past 13 years by Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) under the premise that the body only “develops standards on the basis of health reasons not ecological concerns”.

For more information on Zoos Victoria’s efforts to introduce palm oil labelling, see https://www.zoo.org.au/labelpalmoilalready


Sonja Duncan