In Malaysia, there are no laws against the import of food products bearing the ‘No Palm Oil’ label, said Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok, however she appealed to retailers, especially supermarkets, to refrain from supporting such products.
She has recently received feedback of food products like ice cream and peanut butter with ‘No Palm Oil’ being sold at supermarkets in Perak, Selangor and Johor.
Teresa said, “I would like to urge retailers, especially supermarket operators, to refrain from importing products with labels that insult the palm oil industry. It is now up to the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry to take action against such labelling that misleads consumers.”
She said European countries like Ukraine, Norway, Switzerland and France had banned or curbed the consumption of palm oil. Malaysia will work with Indonesia to file complaints to WTO on these anti palm-oil campaigns.
In 2017, Danish Food company Arla Foods was reprimanded by the Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister over its ‘No Palm Oil’ labelling on its Lurpak brand of butter. In October 2017, Arla Foods agreed to remove products bearing the "No Palm Oil" or "Palm Oil Free" labels in Malaysia.
The 'No Palm Oil' labels are meant to mislead the consumer. The labels are not required by law, nor do they provide any information to the consumer. They are there for only one reason - to imply that because a product does not contain palm oil, it is somehow nutritionally or environmentally superior. This, in a way, is false and an unacceptable attempt to mislead Malaysian consumers.
Palm Oil is one of Malaysia’s main agriculture commodities and it is an irony to see such products to be commercialised on Malaysian soil.