The ‘Love My Palm Oil’ campaign is set to improve our quality of life healthily and financially
By Syed Zaid
When we think of palm oil, most will automatically think of cooking. Palm oil is not only stable at high temperature, it produces less smoke, spatter and foam. In addition, palm oil is also used in our personal care and beauty products. It is one of the key ingredients used in manufacturing of soap, shampoo, lipstick and other oil-based cosmetics.
Putting palm oil on the local market
Keeping up with the trend, Malaysians have slowly switched to using other types of oil as their staple fat. We often hear the comparison between the usage of olive oil and coconut oil to be a ‘healthier’ substitute for palm oil. However, these claims are baseless and a quick cross check with your preferred search engine will show you otherwise.
Marketing has a huge impact in influencing the decision of consumers. The minister has launched the ‘Love My Palm Oil Campaign’ as an initiative to promote the local product. “Most of us are unaware of the versatility that makes palm oil one of our primary exports,” says the Minister of Primary Industry, YB Teresa Kok. According to the minister, Malaysians are less exposed to the health benefits of palm oil. “As compared to here in Malaysia, I saw banners to promote the benefits of coconut oil in their airport when I was in Beijing one time,” she adds.
Addressing the health issues
According to Kok, China is one of the largest buyer of palm oil because it can be sold with a low price. “Oil palm tree has the highest productivity compared to other vegetable oil crops, thus we are able to produce in large quantities,” says the minister. The perception of ‘cheap oil is bad oil’ can be damaging to our health and the economy.
Contrary to popular belief, palm oil is actually beneficial to our health. According to research done in the UK, palm oil does not contribute to the risk of cardiovascular disease. There are not many studies that can actually prove a positive outcome from coconut oil.
The Prime Minister suggested that we consume a spoon of red palm oil a day. It might sound odd but in actuality, palm oil is a great source of energy. It helps in absorbing fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Palm oil is also free of trans fat and cholesterol in addition to being vegan-friendly and is a non GMO food product.
“Red palm oil actually contains immense health benefits. Through a special refining method, we can retain the Pro-Vitamin A
that’s good for the eyes. It is also rich in Vitamin E tocotrienols – an antioxidant that protect the consumer to protect against heart disease and protect the neurons in our brain,” Kok says.
Educating the public
Most Malaysians are unaware of palm oil and its applications. Some even went as far as to join the palm oil boycott, not realising the importance of our local products. According to Kok, she is often criticised by her passion in promoting palm oil products to the
general public. She says, “I don’t blame them.
They are unaware of the benefits of palm oil but I see a lot of local businesses and smallholders are starting to support our movement by using our logo in their products.”
She continues: “The public are not aware of the health benefits of palm oil. That’s why I have invested a lot in this campaign. The goal is to inform the general public that supporting the palm oil industry is not only beneficial to our health, it will also help our economy.”
Addressing the school play debacle that happened recently; Kok says that children are vulnerable to information making them susceptible to the anti-palm oil propaganda that has been spreading among the European countries. “Malaysian children should be exposed to the truth at an early age. That’s why I’ve spoken to the educational board to include palm oil education in the co-curricular activities,” she says with a gleam of hope. — The Health
“I see a lot of local businesses and smallholders are starting to support our movement by using our logo in their products.”– YB Teresa Kok