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Human rights concerns lead to palm oil blockade

by Kyle Ziemnick
Posted 9/30/20, 06:21 pm

WASHINGTON—Plantations in Malaysia and Indonesia practice forced child labor, physical and sexual violence, and abusive living conditions, U.S. investigators found. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Trade said Wednesday it would detain all palm oil–related products from Malaysian giant FGV Holdings Berhad. “The use of forced labor in the production of such a ubiquitous product allows companies to profit from the abuse of vulnerable workers,” said Brenda Smith, executive assistant commissioner at the Office of Trade.

What products contain palm oil? Manufacturers use it in cosmetics, plywood, animal feed, and many common food items, from Oreos to pizza dough. The World Wildlife Fund estimates more than half of all packaged consumable products in the United States include it. Palm oil plantations cover huge swaths of Indonesia and Malaysia, the world’s two largest producers.

Dig deeper: From the WORLD archives, read Daniel James Devine’s report on the environmental problems with palm oil harvesting.

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Kyle Ziemnick

Kyle is a WORLD Digital news reporter. He is a World Journalism Institute and Patrick Henry College graduate. Kyle resides in Purcellville, Va. Follow him on Twitter @kylezim25.

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    Posted: Thu, 10/01/2020 04:34 pm

    No, we should not support child labor & abuse. 

    What are other countries doing? Like Great Britain? Australia? New Zealand?

    Do they use it? Make their own? Do they even use Palm Oil?

    The gov't should be watching our backs. For years gov't employees have allowed companies to feed us junk.

    There used to be a law that said that if the product name was a certain thing then it should be the first ingredient. What happened? Now we get "rendered beef" (pink slime) in place of, or mixed in with, ground beef. (Yes, pink slime is back, ok'd by our gov't.) The stores do not have to tell you what is in your food anymore. GB has laws that keep junk out of their food.

    I just saw a special about food and it seems that CANADA doesn't look after their people either. When questioned about it, their gov't said they were looking into it. Canadians were VERY surprised.