How do I know if a product contains palm oil?
Food Standards Australia and New Zealand allows palm oil to be labelled simply as “vegetable oil” and indeed its presence can be even less visible as many of the more minor components of a product – colourings, flavourings, emulsifiers and humectants – are commonly palm oil derived. A quick test – if the saturated fat content is around 50% the likelihood of the vegetable oil being palm is high.
In cosmetics, palm oil is labelled Elaeis guineensis but as with the food industry, its presence is often less obvious. Any ingredient which includes the word “palm” (palmitate, palmitoyl or simply palm) will include palm oil. Other ingredients which commonly but not always use palm oil include cetyl alcohol, isopropyl, sodium lauryl sulphate, steareths, fatty alcohol sulphates, glycerine, cocoa butter equivalent and cocoa butter substitute.
The Guardian’s Story of Palm Oil provides an informative and interactive description of where palm oil may be found and its impact on orangutan habitat.
How do I make an informed choice?
BOS Australia has put together a list of products which manufacturers tell us are palm oil free or contain segregated certified sustainable palm oil. We have targeted those food categories which are particularly suspect – biscuits, processed foods, chocolates, snacks etc – as well as personal care items.
Some comments to consider when reviewing the lists:
* The list is not all inclusive and there may well be other products in the categories covered which are palm oil free – if you know of any, please send details through to us at email@example.com
* Where labelling is not definitive, we have attempted to confirm the information in this list through letters from our supporters to the manufacturers.
* The list is not an official accreditation of suppliers’ claims as we do not conduct independent product testing. There are heavy penalties for making false claims on packaging so when a supplier claims “No Palm Oil” we take that as an honest and informed claim.
* Nearly all Australian manufacturers contacted informed us that where products did contain palm oil, it was from sustainable sources. Membership of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (www.rspo.org) alone is not a sufficient guarantee of sustainability. RSPO certification is a more demanding standard but we are yet to uncover many Australia producers sourcing certified sustainable palm oil.
* Product specifications can change – please advise us if you suspect palm oil to be in any of the products on our list.
* The list is based on the specification for products sold in Australia. International brands may have different specifications in different countries – for example Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate in the UK does contain palm oil.
* The list is based on a product by product basis rather than at company level. Many of the companies listed manufacture other products that do contain palm oil.
If we haven’t covered the category you’re interested in, Auckland Zoo’s shopping guide may provide a starting point. There are many familiar brand and product names although you should check the label in case formulations are different between the two countries.
Palm Oil Free CSPO Products
|Aldi Stores||Choceur, Just Organics||Chocolate blocks|
|Cadbury’s||Cadbury Dairy Milk||Chocolate blocks – Dairy Milk, Old Gold, Dream|
|Cadbury’s||Green & Black’s||Chocolate blocks (except Butterscotch; Raisin; Hazelnut)|
|Chocolate Mill||Chocolate Mill||Chocolate blocks, bars and filled chocolates. www.chocmill.com.au|
|Divine Chocolate||Divine||Chocolate blocks and bars. Stockists can be found via http://search.fairtrade.com.au/brand/divine|
|Haigh’s Chocolates||Haigh’s||All chocolate products|
|Koko Black||Koko Black||Chocolate products|
|Lighthouse Ventures||Scarborough Fair Trade||Chocolate blocks|
|Lindt Sprungli||Lindt Excellence; Lindt Creation||Chocolate blocks (Note that filled products such as Lindor do contain palm oil)|
|Melrose Health||Kaoka||Organic chocolate range|
|Nestle ||Nestle||Club Chocolate blocks palm oil free; Other Nestle chocolate bars and blocks, Allens lollies containing chocolate (Fantales, Freckles, Jaffas) and Nestle and Plaistowe cooking chocolate manufactured in Australia use segregated CSPO|
|Organic Trader Pty Ltd||Cocolo||Chocolate blocks|
|Plamil||Plamil Premium Organic||Chocolate blocks|
|Robern Menz||Menz||Products using CSPO: Honeycomb, Choccy Snakes, Choccy Froggies, Choccy Milk Bottles, Choccy Bananas|
|Sweet William||Sweet William||Chocolate blocks and bars (Note that cooking chocolate chips and spread do contain palm oil)|
|Vitality Brands||Well, Naturally||Chocolate bars. Cherry Delight flavour contains CSPO mass balance palm oil|
|Vitarium||Vitarium||Drinking chocolate & other beverages|
|Wesfarmers Ltd||Coles||Products using CSPO: Chocolate share packs – Light & Whippy, Caramel Mighty, Nutty Nougat, Crunchy Caramel Stix, Wafer Breaks;|
|Wesfarmers Ltd||Smart Buy||Products using CSPO: Choc Honeycomb and Cooking Chocolate blocks|
|Whittaker’s||Whittaker’s||All chocolate products|
* Unfortunately Chokolit is only available in the UK at this stage but this is a truly inspirational story. Louis, who founded the company at the age of 12, asked to be included on our list to show that someone is trying to make a change in the UK too. Chokolit directly supports various animal conservation groups including the Sumatran Orangutan Society. To read more about the company, visit www.chokolit.co.uk
|ABE’S Real Food Company||ABE’S||Bagel crisps|
|Aldi Stores||Damora||Hi Fibre 97% fat free crispbread; 98% fat free crispbread; Rice crackers; Vitagrain; Thin rice cakes; Thin rice and corn cakes|
|Campbell Soup Company||Arnotts||Australian products use 100% segregated, certified sustainable & traceable palm oil|
|Coreco Fine Foods||Biofood Organic||Melba Toast|
|Delba||Cocktail Rounds||Pumpernickel bread|
|George Weston Foods||Ryvita||Crispbread|
|Griffins Foods Ltd||Huntley Palmer||Quartets, Litebread, Wafer thins|
|Hampden Trading Pty Ltd||Artisse||Organic original rice crackers|
|Manassen Foods Australia||Burns & Ricker (Nonni’s)||Bagel crisps; Pita crisps|
|Carr’s Melts||Wheaten biscuits (Cheese flavour)|
|Kurrajong Kitchens||Lavosh crackerbread|
|Van der Meulen||Melba toast|
|National Foods (NZ) Ltd||South Cape||Crispbread|
|Real Foods||Corn Thins||Corn cakes|
|Ricegrowers Ltd||SunRice||Rice cakes; Corn cakes|
|Riviana Foods||Always Fresh||Grissini Italian breadsticks; Crustini bruschetta toasts; Wafer crispbread|
|Roccas Fine Foods||RoccasDeli||Mini Flatbreads; Baker chips; Gourmet crackers|
|Snowy Mountain Cookies||Snowy Mountain Cookies||All savoury flavours (www.snowycookies.com.au)|
|Trentham Tucker||Trentham Tucker||Lavosh poppy & sesame seed crispbread|
|Tucker’s Natural||Tucker’s ||Gourmet crackers; Multifibre snacks|
|Vita Vigor||Vita Vigor||Grissini breadsticks, Happy Vi|
|Waterwheel Industries||Waterthins||Bagelettes; Cheese twists; Fine wafers; Flatbread crackers; Savoury straws|
|Woolworths Ltd||Select||Multigrain wheat crispbread; Sea salt crackers; Brown rice crackers (sea salt)|
|Aldi Stores||Blackstone||Potato chips|
|C.A.L. Marketing Pty||Snappy||Soy crisps|
|Partner Foods||Chic Nuts||Chickpea snacks (lightly salted; spicy tomato)|
|Potatomagic Pty Ltd||Sultry Sally||Potato chips (sea salt; cheese & onion)|
|R W Garcia||R W Garcia||Organic corn tortilla chips (white, soy & flaxseed, blue corn, spicy)|
|Simply 7 Snacks||Simply 7||Lentil chips Sea Salt|
|Smiths Snackfood Co||Red Rock Deli||Potato chips with sea salt|
|Smiths Chips||All potato chips|
|SnackBrands Australia||Kettle||Original salted kettle chips (other variants have small quantities of palm oil derivatives in flavouring); Sweet potato, beetroot and white potato vegetable chips|
|Thins||Popped (original, salted)|
|Tixana Pty Ltd||Piranha||Golden hash potato grills|
|Vege Chip Company||Ajitas||Vege chips|
|Wesfarmers Ltd||Coles||Products using CSPO: Simply Gluten Free corn chips, ancient grain chips, mixed root vegetable chips|
|Woolworths Ltd||Select||Light potato chips; Oven baked pretzel twists; Deli-style sea salt chips|
|Macro||Gluten free Original potato chips|
|Zed Snack Food||Dip Stix||Soy snack sticks|
|Addiction Food||Addiction Food||Brownies, bars and balls. For stockists www.addictionfood.com.au (NSW only)|
|Aldi Stores||Parkwood||Butter shortbread|
|Botany International Food||Jules Destrooper||Almond Thins|
|Campbell Soup Co||Arnotts||Australian products use 100% segregated, certified sustainable and traceable palm oil|
|Eastern Pacific Foods||Borland’s||Plain macadamia shortbread|
|Farmhouse Pantry||Farmhouse Pantry||All biscuits (http://farmhousepantry.vpweb.com.au)|
|Gateaux Bonne Maman||Bonne Maman||Butter cookies; Tartlets (lemon & raspberry)|
|Goodman Fielder||Paradise Cottage Cookies||Vive Lites|
|Hampden Trading Pty Ltd||Artisse||Dark chocolate crepes*|
|Kez’s Kitchen||Kez’s Indulgences||Almond/apricot/date bread; Melting moments|
|LU||Le Petit Ecolier||Butter biscuit|
|Manassen Foods Australia||Walkers||Shortbread biscuits; Wheat’n’Oat organic biscuits|
|Snowy Mountain Cookies||Snowy Mountain Cookies||All cookie flavours (www.snowycookies.com.au)|
|The Old Colonial Cookie Co||Butterfingers||Pure butter shortbread|
|Unibic||Unibic||Aniseed cake, Biscotti, Savoiardi sponge fingers; Shortbread fingers|
|Weight Watchers||Butternut cookies; Raspberry tartlets|
* Dark chocolate crepes contain no palm oil. Hampden Trading Pty Ltd has confirmed that any palm oil used in its other Artisse products is sourced from environmentally sustainable palm plantations in South America.
Arnotts (Australia and NZ) is targeting the use of 100% certified sustainable palm oil, if available, by 2015 and claims to be shifting around 20% of supply each year towards this.
Frozen meals & fish
Nestle (Lean Cuisine, Maggi) has indicated that palm oil is not an ingredient in the majority of its frozen meals but has not been able to be more specific. We’ve put together a list of those products which don’t have vegetable oil listed as an ingredient – not a guarantee but the best we can do with the information we have.
|HJ Heinz Australia||Weightwatchers||Thai chicken yellow curry; Beef burgundy; Beef cannelloni; Vegetable lasagne; Chicken fettucine; Chicken pesto spaghettini; Satay chicken; Seafood risotto; Thai fish fillets; Chicken penne; Sweet & sour chicken|
|Nestle Australia||Lean Cuisine||Satay beef with rice; Creamy dill & salmon pasta; Vegetable cannelloni; Pumpkin, spinach & ricotta lasagne; Lean beef lasagne; Satay chicken noodles; Beef with vegetables in cracked pepper sauce; Indian style butter chicken; Beef in red wine sauce with garlic mash; Chicken & vegetable risotto; Honey mustard chicken with rice; Thai prawn curry with rice|
|Maggi||Mediterranean Goodness Beef lasagne; Macaroni cheese
World Flavours Caribbean mango prawns with rice and corn
|Sanitarium||Vegie Delights||Chilled and Frozen vegetarian range|
|Select Brands Pty Ltd||Michelina’s||Beef ravioli|
|Simplot Australia||Birds Eye||All frozen fish products|
Frozen snacks / pies / pizzas / pastry
Nearly all frozen pastry contains palm oil as it is made using margarine or vegetable oil. However we have found a chilled filo pastry and a limited number of other puff and shortcrust pastry products that contain no palm oil and are listed below.
Most pizza products we looked at contained vegetable oil and in many cases E471 as an emulsifier. McCain has responded that palm oil is not used in the preparation of its pizzas so we assume that the vegetable oil listed as an ingredient in its products is not palm oil.
Steggles has informed us that it uses cottonseed and canola as its frying and general food oil. While not specified in its formulations, Steggles advises that its suppliers may use emulsifiers including E471 at very low levels which don’t require labelling.
|Bartter Steggles||Steggles||Tempura style nuggets; Dinosnack shapes|
|Borgcraft Pty Ltd||Borgs||Butter puff pastry|
|CM Antoniou Pty Ltd||Antoniou||Chilled fillo pastry|
|Goodman Fielder||Pampas||Butter puff pastry|
|Kylie (Australia) Pty Ltd||Pacific West||Seafood dumplings; vege buns; Prawn Hargow; spinach dumplings; Prawn Shao Mai; mushroom dumplings|
|Makmur Enterprises||Golden Wok||Dim sims|
|Marathon Foods||Marathon||Dim sim range; Beef & chicken bites; Spring roll range|
|Wesfarmers Ltd||You’ll Love Coles||Mini dim sims|
Frozen chips & wedges
|McCain Foods (Aust) Pty Ltd||McCain||All Aust & NZ Conventional Fries|
|Simplot Australia||Birds Eye||Golden crunch chips & wedges; Hash browns & potato gems; Oven bake chips & wedges; Oven roast potatoes|
|Weightwatchers International||Weightwatchers||Oven chips; Crunchy oven wedges|
Margarines, spreads & peanut butter
Goodman Fielder and Unilever, the two major producers of spreads in Australia, have confirmed that all their spreads contain a percentage of palm oil. Fonterra has also confirmed that its Western Star spread range may contain palm oil.
Nuttelex’s main ingredient is sunflower oil but it does also contain a small amount of palm oil. Similarly, Alfa rice bran spread uses rice bran oil but the emulsifier contains palm oil as a carrier.
Some peanut butters appear to contain palm oil. Apparently the peanut oil is extracted to sell separately and replaced in the peanut butter by cheaper palm oil. We have however confirmed that the Sanitarium range of products uses rapeseed oil or 100% peanuts as does Ceres Organic and Melrose Health spreads.
So, it’s back to butter or the following products which we believe are palm oil free:
|Ambrosia||Ambrosia||Honey; peanut butter|
|Arla Foods||Harmonie, Lurpak||Organic spreadable; spreadable butter|
|Ceres Enterprises Ltd||Ceres Organic||Organic Peanut butter (Crunchy & Smooth), Almond Butter|
|Devondale||Devondale||Dairy soft & Dairy soft salt reduced|
|Fonterra||Mainland ||Butter Soft|
|Hansells Food Group||Alfa One Rice Bran Oil||Spread|
|Mayvers||Original Super spread||Nut butter|
|Melrose Health||Melrose Naturals||100% Cashew; 100% Almond; Hazelnut; Almond, Brazil & Cashew|
| “ ||Melrose||Nut spreads|
| “||Melrose Omega Care||Table spreads|
|Pic’s Really Good Peanut Butter||Pic’s Really Good Peanut Butter||Peanut butter. Click herefor Australian stockists|
|Ridiculously Delicious Peanut Butter Company||Ridiculously Delicious Peanut Butter||Peanut Butter. Click here for Australian stockists|
|Sanitarium||Sanitarium||All peanut butters & marmite|
|Sunburst||Nuttelex with Coconut Oil||Table spread|
|Trialia Foods||Eskal Freenut Butter||Smooth and crunchy peanut butter|
|Clahym||Just Egg Noodles||Instant noodles|
|Be Natural Cereals||Be Natural||Five whole grain flakes range|
|Carman’s Fine Foods||Carman’s||All muesli products and rolled oats|
|Green’s General Foods||Lowan||Muesli range|
|Health Brands Australia||Abundant Earth||Organic bircher muesli; puffed rice, corn, millet, kamut|
|Kelloggs ||Kelloggs||All Bran; Coco pops; Crispix; Crunchy Nut (except Clusters); Frosties; Guardian; Nutri-Grain; Rice Bubbles; Special K; Sultana Bran (except Crunch); Sustain|
|Nestle||Uncle Tobys||All Uncle Tobys’ cereals|
|Popina Food Services||Arnold’s Farm||Toasted Muesli|
|Sanitarium||(Weetbix, Crunchy Bites, Granola Oat Clusters, Skippy Cornflakes, Honey Weets, Puffed Wheat, LIght ‘n Tasty, Up & Go)|
|Table of Plenty||Table of Plenty||Muesli (velvety vanilla, honey spiced)|
|Angas Park||Angas Park||All dried fruit except dates|
|Fruit for Life||Fruit for Life||All products|
|Mother Earth||Mother Earth||Deluxe mix – superfruits, cranberry|
|Ocean Spray||Ocean Spray||Craisins|
|Scalzo Food Industries||Freshlife||All dried fruit products and banana chips|
|Sunsweet||Sunsweet||Prunes, dried mango|
|Wesfarmers||Coles||Pitted dates, pitted prunes, mixed dried fruit, sultanas, currants|
|Coles Smart Buy||Mixed dried fruit|
|Golden North Ice Cream||Golden North Ice Cream||Ice cream – available mainly in South Australia|
|Sanitarium||So Good Frozen Dessert||Soy based ice cream alternative|
Heinz has reformulated its range of infant formulas (Heinz Nuture Gold Starter, Starter, Gold Follow-on, Follow-on), removing palm oil from these products.
Woolworths Ltd released a Sustainable Palm Oil Action Plan in March 2010 whereby the company commits to moving to certified sustainable palm oil from RSPO members by 2015 for all Woolworths private label products (Select and Homebrand). It has also committed to on-pack labelling of palm oil and derivatives for all these products (where oil is a listed ingredient ie excludes trace oils potentially present in emulsifiers etc). A list of Woolworths own brand products produced with CSPO can be found on its website
Coles lists its private brand products which are either palm oil free or contain certified sustainable palm oil on its website. It has begun purchasing GreenPalm certificates to offset its palm oil use and has committed to move to CSPO in all Coles branded products by 2015. Coles is an RSPO member.
Finding soap without palm oil in supermarkets is difficult. However, we have been alerted to a number of online suppliers who produce a palm oil free product.
Please note that a number of brands previously listed have been removed from the list following information received from an industry participant and subsequent inquiries by Palm Oil Investigations. We had previously assumed that various coco- derivatives (eg coco-betaine) were purely coconut based but it appears that these too may contain a palm oil base. We understand that this may also apply to oleo- derivatives.
Soaps / shampoos / beauty products / toiletries
|Manufacturer||Product||Website / Retail outlets|
|Adorius||Includes a range of palm oil free soap||www.adorius.com.au|
|Adorn Cosmetics||Skincare, cosmetics, lipstick||www.adorncosmetics.com.au|
|Alex’s Handcrafted Soaps||Soap, shampoo bars, bath products||www.handcraftedsoaps.com.au|
|Aromatic Essentials||Soaps and creams, dog soap|