Palm oil labeling bill passes in Australia’s Senate
"[This bill will] showcase our nation's attempt to weaken our link to this issue and inspire others to do the same."
- Rachel Lowry, Director of Wildlife Conservation and Science at Zoos Victoria
A bill recently rejected by the Senate Community Affairs Committee was passed by the Australian Senate. The bill called the Amended Truth in Labeling requires all products containing palm oil to be explicitly labeled as such. The bill was originally the incentive of Independent senator Nick Xenophon, as a means for Australian consumers to be aware of products containing palm oil.
The production of palm oil has been linked by environmental campaigners to the deforestation in countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia. The Malaysian palm oil lobby in particular reacted negatively towards the bill, claiming it would result in discrimination against palm oil-containing products.
Nevertheless the hopes are that many of the palm oil producers in Malaysia will clean up their production means and join the sustainable producers, which does not endanger biodiversity and deforestation.
Jonathon of WWF adds the label laws would show the international community that Australia is "helping to protect some of the most pristine rainforests on the planet".