Green palm oil push: Kit Kat, Dove makers could face fines

Companies that make top brands including Kit Kat chocolate and Dove soap may face fines if they fail to buy more green palm oil under new rules aimed at improving the controversial industry's environmental sustainability.

When grown right, palm oil can be sustainable

Turning an abandoned pasture into a palm tree plantation can be carbon neutral, according to a new study by EPFL and the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL). These findings, based on measurements ...

France reverse palm oil tax break after outcry

France's parliament on Friday voted down a proposed tax break on palm oil—which would have hugely benefited energy giant Total—after lawmakers and environmental activists complained the legislation had been rushed through ...

Palm oil: Less fertilizer and no herbicide but same yield?

Environmentally friendlier palm oil production could be achieved with less fertilizer and no herbicide, while maintaining profits. These are the encouraging preliminary results of the first two years of a large-scale oil ...

How rat-eating monkeys help keep palm oil plants alive

Found as an ingredient in many processed and packaged foods, palm oil is the most widely consumed vegetable oil. Now, researchers reporting in Current Biology on October 21 have discovered an unlikely ally for palm oil production: ...

Total loses bid for palm oil tax break

France's constitutional court rejected on Friday a bid by oil firm Total to secure a tax break for using controversial palm oil to create biofuel.

Lake Maracaibo: polluted by a permanent black tide

Smelling like an oil refinery, the vast expanse of Lake Maracaibo has become polluted by its own reserves of crude as Venezuela's economic collapse has left wells and pipelines in ruin.

Burning issue: Indonesia fires put palm oil under scrutiny

A brutal Indonesian forest fire season that left Southeast Asia choking in smog has renewed scrutiny of major palm oil and paper companies, with activists accusing them of breaking promises to halt logging.

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Palm oil

Palm oil is an edible plant oil derived from the fruit and kernels (seeds) of the oil palm Elaeis guineensis. Palm oil is naturally reddish because it contains a high amount of beta-carotene (though boiling it destroys the carotenoids and renders the oil colourless). Palm oil is one of the few vegetable oils relatively high in saturated fats (like coconut oil) and thus semi-solid at room temperature.

The oil is widely used as a cooking oil, as an ingredient in margarine, and is a component of many processed foods. It is also an important component of many soaps, washing powders and personal care products, is used to treat wounds, and also controversially as a feedstock for biofuel.

Palm oil was previously the second-most widely produced edible oil, after soybean oil,[citation needed]. However, in the 2004-2005 marketing year, 33.5 million metric tonnes were produced worldwide, compared to 32.6 million metric tonnes of soybean oil.

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