Unsustainable palm oil is bad news. Approximately every hour, the equivalent to 300 football fields is cleared to make way for palm oil plantations and, in the last decade, orangutan populations decreased by 50% due to habitat loss due in part to the construction of palm oil plantations.
Palm oil is an increasingly popular ingredient but it comes at an enormous cost, not just to the environment but also to humans. The U.S. Department of Labor ranks the palm oil industry as one of the top four worst industries for forced child labor.
So how do we avoid palm oil when it sneaks its way into so many products? Knowing which products certainly helps and ultimately, checking the ingredients label will give you all the information you need.
Here are 10 surprising products that may contain palm oil.
Sweets are often blamed for containing palm oil, but did you know that laundry soap also contains palm oil? Palm oil can be refined to make some soaps and other cleaning products.
Why on Earth would palm oil end up in lipstick? It turns out, palm oil holds color well and won’t melt at higher temperatures, making it ideal for lipstick. Plus it has no taste!
This is an awesome guide for picking out palm oil-free lipstick
Picking up a fresh or frozen premade pizza from the store? Check the ingredients. Palm oil sometimes sneaks into the dough. Palm oil is used to enhance the dough’s texture and prevent sticking.
The best way to avoid palm oil in your pizza dough is to make the dough yourself! This is a good recipe.
Palm oil is now a common ingredient in store-bought bread because it is a solid at room temperature. It’s also cheap and easy to bake with.
If you want to eat a lot of palm oil, grab yourself some instant noodles. Palm oil can be up to 20% of the total weight of a package of instant noodles! Yuck.
King Soba instant noodles are a good option when looking for a palm oil-free instant noodle. They’re also gluten-free, wheat-free, and USDA certified organic.
How green biodiesel is is probably debatable, but when it’s made from palm oil, there is no debate! Palm oil can be made into biodiesel and other biofuels.
Bans on trans fats have made palm oil an attractive choice for makers of margarine. Palm oil contains no trans fats and remains solid at room temperature.
The best and most widely-available alternative to palm oil-laden margarine is to simply use butter instead. Extra points if you can find local, organic butter.
Like laundry soap, palm oil sneaks its way into your shopping cart through your shampoo. Palm oil is great for restoring the natural oils in your hair, but it’s terrible for the environment.
This is an awesome guide to finding the right palm oil-free shampoo.
Many vegans look to products that avoid animal products in an effort to be more ethical and avoid causing harm to the environment. Unfortunately, some vegan cheese contain palm oil. Before you buy, check the label to ensure that palm oil is not an ingredient.
Palm oil sometimes disguises itself as ‘vegetable oil’ when listed on chip ingredients. Sadly, most chips use palm oil. Your best bet for avoiding palm oil in your chips is by finding brands that use other oils, like sunflower, olive, or coconut oil.
Identifying palm oil on ingredients lists
Looking at a product’s label is one of the best ways to avoid purchasing a product that contains palm oil, but it can be difficult to identify what products contain palm oil because manufacturers of these products often intentionally do not clearly label their products. Palm oil operates under the following names:
- Vegetable oil
- Vegetable fat
- Palm kernel
- Palm kernel oil
- Palm fruit oil
- Stearic acid
- Palmitoyl oxostearamide
- Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-3
- Sodium laureth sulfate
- Sodium lauryl sulfate
- Sodium kernelate
- Sodium palm kernelate
- Sodium luryl lacylate/sulphate
- Hydrated palm glycerides
- Etyl palmitate
- Octyl palmitate
- Palmityl alcohol