DPA via Earthtimes, 11 July 2009
Wellington – Auckland Zoo has withdrawn Cadbury’s chocolate products from its shops because of the introduction of the ingredient palm oil into its products, a newspaper reported on Sunday. Rain forests are being cleared in South-east Asia to produce palm oil, threatening the habitat of orang-utans, the zoo’s conservation officer Peter Fraser told the Sunday Star-Times.
He said that if palm oil production continued at its current pace, none of the animals would be left in the wild in 10 years.
Keepers at the zoo are weaning themselves off other products containing palm oil, including cookies, instant noodles and shaving cream, the paper said. The zoo has also published an orang-utan- friendly shopping list on its website.
Consumers unhappy with the changing taste of products with palm oil have set up groups calling for a boycott of Cadbury’s products on social networking websites, the paper said.
Spokesman Daniel Ellis told the Star-Times that consumer feedback showed the vegetable fat improved the chocolate’s texture. He said Cadbury was a member of the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), a body committed to ensuring responsible and sustainable palm oil crops.
“While we understand the passion some members of the community have about palm oil, we believe that the palm oil we use is sourced in a sustainable manner and we hope that people will take the time to understand that.”
Ellis said Cadbury’s palm oil was sourced primarily from Malaysia, not from Sumatra, Borneo or any of the other regions where the orang- utan was under threat.