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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