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The Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) welcomes a Resolution on palm oil submitted on July 30 to the Italian Parliament by Nuovo Centrodestra MP Dorina Bianchi. It is pleasing to see facts and reason set out in relation to palm oil.

The Resolution outlines the health, environmental and economic benefits of palm oil; and offers an important criticism of the discriminatory campaign underway in Italy.

The Italian Government should support such efforts, and condemn the misleading anti-palm oil campaign being spearheaded by some members of the Democratic Party and the Movimento 5 Stelle, as well as misinformed NGOs like Il Fatto Alimentare.

“Politicians have a great responsibility to defend scientific truth and adopt the best policies in protecting consumer health,” said Dr Yusof Basiron, the CEO of MPOC.

“The MPOC calls on the Italian Government to support the efforts of MP Bianchi and to denounce the anti-palm oil campaign. Italy is good friend of Malaysia, and our two countries benefit from strong and growing trade links. It is a shame that some Italian MPs and NGOs are undermining this relationship.”

Malaysia is the world’s second-largest producer of palm oil and a major exporter of palm oil to Europe, including Italy. The respected UK-based research consultancy, Europe Economics, has found that palm oil imports contribute substantially to the Italian economy – 500 million EUR in tax revenue; over 1 billion EUR in GDP; and 14,000 jobs.

In Malaysia, the palm oil industry has helped reduce the incidence of poverty from 50% in the 1960s, down to less than 5% today. It is one of the largest employers, directly employing more than 570,000 people, while another 290,000 are employed in downstream industries.

Contrary to NGO claims, Malaysia has one of the best forest protection regimes in the world, which has been recognised by the United Nations and the World Bank. It is proud to preserve 63% of its land under forest cover – an unparalleled environmental commitment. In contrast, Italy has only 31% under forest cover.

The oil palm is the most land-efficient oilseed crop in the world, producing more oil but using less land. Malaysian palm oil is a sustainable, healthy and high-quality food product. It is recognised by scientists as the best substitute for food ingredients that contain dangerous trans fats. The US has banned trans fats and has ordered that these be phased out in food products by June 2018.


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