About the E.U.

1-Malysia and Indonesia seem threathening the EU[1], and some European countries on the palm oil ( fat) subject ;

« moving to ban the use of palm oil in biofuels, citing deforestation as a reason. »…and « France and Norway  have taken steps within ..their.. jurisdiction in December to clamp down on the use of palm oil in biofuels by withdrawing tax incentives ».

2-Moreover, the « Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad brushed off the global rebuff and dismissed allegations of deforestation and dietary harm. ».

3- Furthermore, « Malaysia claimed such measures to be « discriminatory » as it indirectly favored Europe’s homegrown products like rapeseed and sunflower oils. »

About Switzerland ?

What does Switzerland  in the context of forest devastation, killing of orangutans, child labour in Indonesia, due to Palm Fat Oil plantations ?… In September 2018, The States Council of Switzerland (Conseil des Etats) signed an agreement in favor of Palm Oil free trade [2]!




We can identify various levels and points of view concerning the subject of palm fat (oil). The question of deforestation might be considered as a global planet concern, thus remaining the main harmful outcome, also linked with the clearing and disappearing of animal species, including the orangutans , which problem has several times be mentioned. Forests , flora, animal species are a  legacy of the humanity, belonging to the humanity, although governments believe that they are the rightful heirs. Wrong way of thinking ! The Earth, the soil is only lended to the people, who are responsible for improving its value and for putting the inheritance in the hands of the next generations ! Not for spoiling it and give to the children nothing else but a burned country with pollution, pesticides, illnesses, child labour and  barren islands of palm fat.

Deforestation and disappearing of flora and animal species are a « man-made disaster ». It just happened that « man » was born here or there. Man believes that he is entitled to do as he is pleased. Like it seems that there is no ultimate entity supervising the man ( and governments), man has no apparent predators ; apart from the post-effects of the « man-made disasters » as drought, over-population with its fate made of illnesses, epidemics, high mortality rates,  child labour and slavery, displaced populations and migration. Instead of freeing himself, Man becomes a prisoner on Earth, with his wrong thinking . Another chimera ! In wasting its natural resources, his legacy, Man has not listened to His Ultimate Manager. He is not tied and connected anymore to God and to Earth.



The Human Development Report

However, practically, deforestation in Asia, remains an Asian question and problem to solve.

The Human Development Indicators  2018[3] report provides some arguments.  Malaysia ( number 57)  is classified in the « Very High Human development Group », while Indonesia (number 116), is in the « Medium development Group ».

The figure 15 shows that there is a relation between the Change in the forest area and the level of the development group. While the impact is little concerning the Very High development group ( and positive, +1%), the change in forest area is negative with -9.7% ( Medium group), and -14.5% ( Low development Group)[4].

However, the Environmental Sustainability[5] dashboard provides darkests figures regarding the change in forest area . While Malaysia remains in his group with -0.8% of change ( with a 67.6% of forest/ total land area), Indonesia shows minus -23% of forest ( 50% forest/ total land area). The harmful Indonesian strategy regarding forest devastation  for the palm oil industry puts its country in the rank of the « Low development group » concerning this matter ( nearly the double of the average !). Moreover, together with a high rate of mortality attributed to air pollution ( 112/ 100’000).

The figures related to the « Fossil fuel energy consumption » and « renewable energy » seem satisfying at first instance . While Malaysia uses 96% of the total energy as fossil fuel energy which is not a good score, with only 5.2% of Renewable energy, Indonesia uses 65.6% of fossil energy and 36.9% of renewable. Probably an absurd counting, if the use of the wood snatched away from the devastated forest is counted as a « renewable » energy.

Those are facts prevailing in Indonesia, while in its backyard ;

-it is expected that there will be an increase of about 12% of its population in 5 years only ( 264 millions up in 2015  to 295 millions expected in 2020). However it seems that there is a decrease of the annual growth ( 1.3 to 1.2),

– the child mortality rate is about the double compared with Malaysia, the Under-Five mortality about 3 times more, and the Female mortality is nearly the double.



« As shocking as the rapid loss of rainforests has been over

these past few decades, nothing compares to the amount of

land being bulldozed by palm oil plantations in the 21st

century.  Each palm plantation that destroys thousands

of hectares in pursuit of massive profits also takes with it the

lives of many orangutans.  Recent headlines reported

how one palm oil firm hunted down orangutans while

expanding their cash crop production.  Meanwhile,

governmental mandates, meant to protect the land and the

animals, disappear faster than do the trees.

In short, if things don’t change soon, if the main threats to

orangutans – palm oil, deforestation, poaching and hunting –

are not addressed in a serious, urgent and sustained manner,

wild orangutans will be gone from this earth. »



We know that the first concern of palm oil, which is in fact palm fat according to some authors, is the high content of saturated fat. Although palm oil contains about 50 % of saturated fat, against 90 %  for the coconut oil, which is a risk for our cardiovascular system. While the oil from nuts, olives and avocado contains much less saturated fat, about 7 times less.

« As one of the more inexpensive cooking oils available, palm fat(oil) is found in many ready-to-eat foods available in grocery stores and the earthy taste makes it popular with cooks across the globe.[7] ».


However, according to this dashboard, the oils at the top of the frame are the best, with the lowest rate of saturated fat : canola oil, carthame, sunflower, corn, soya, olive.

The composition of the palm fat (oil) is quite similar to the beef fat. Palm fat ( saturated fat 51%, mono-unsaturated 39%), beef fat (saturated fat 52%, mono-unsaturated 44%).

While some people try to avoid beef fat, what is the point to use and eat palm fat (oil) instead of it ? Coconut oil contains the most of saturated fat, (92% ). However, being very stable, coconut oil is the best oil recommended for cooking food, because of the lowest rate of poly-unsaturated fat (2%), and therefore with the lowest quantity of free radicals released by cooking oils. The oils with the lowest rate of saturated fat are recommended for using it fresh,without cooking ( canola, carthame, sunflower, corn, soya and olive oil), and not for cooking. Olive oil however has a low percentage of both saturated and poly-unsaturated ; it is a well-balanced oil for both cooking or using it fresh .

« Although all palm oil is high in saturated fat, oxidized palm oil presents even greater health risks. The oxidization occurs during processing for culinary use, generating toxins that adversely affect the heart, liver, kidneys and lungs. Raw, unprocessed palm oil isn’t associated with these effects when fresh; however, studies link a boost in atherosclerosis development in as little as six months when reheating palm oil to cook foods.

Palm oil can reduce the effectiveness of medicines designed

to reduce blood clotting, such as warfarin, enoxaparin and

dalteparin. Although the interaction is moderate, the oil is

best avoided when health concerns include blood clots. »[8]


Products which contain palm oil might also contain bad contaminants such as glycidyliques fat acids esters. It can be found in refined palm oil, and in baby food[9] containing palm oil !

« Palm oil’s health benefits?

Half of palm oil’s fat is saturated, the other half is made up of 40 percent monounsaturated fatty acids and 10 percent polyunsaturated fatty acid. High levels of beta-carotene and lycopene give raw palm oil its red color and are useful in preventing vitamin A deficiency. The product contains 20 other carotenes, CoQ10, vitamin E and vitamin K. Phytosterols found in palm oil can help block the intestinal absorption of dietary cholesterol, and its flavonoids might help combat inflammatory diseases. ».

Palm oil is also used in cosmetic products with success.


A  few studies[10] have confirmed serious violations of the international working standards in the palm oil plantations, such as : child labour, forced labour, low salaries looking like slavery. Use of very toxic pesticide products with consequences on the children, workers and even on the nearby populations.

In addition, there are thousands of unsolved land conflicts between the local communities and the palm oil multinationals.


The  RSPO is following a controversial attempt[11].. The label « Roundtable for Sustainable Pal Oil »  is far away from  certifying any sustainability[12]. Because of a lack of criteria, lack of control, no constraints and a system with ineffective sanctions.


Summary conclusions

As said « substituting palm oil with an oil low in saturated fat is important » . Better use olive oil .

Using palm oil is not recommended, be it for eating, certainly not in baby food and food for children. Although it seems to be an acceptable fat for the skin, it is  not recommended either  for cosmetics, due to the main problem of forest devastation  and orangutans extinction.




[1] Reference ; Extracts (1-3) CK TAN, Nikkei staff writer January 28, 2019 12:34 JST




[4] Page 12 of the report.

[5] Page 98. Human development Dashboards