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Palm oil claims 'mislead public'

The palm oil industry adverts were misleading by claiming production of the vegetable fat was sustainable and socially useful, according to an investigation in Britain.

In a ruling last week, the Advertising Standards Authority upheld four complaints against a magazine advert by the Malaysian Palm Oil Council intended to counter environmental and human rights criticism of its record.

Plantations producing palm oil for food, household products and biofuels have destroyed swathes of rainforest on the Indonesian and Malaysian islands of Sumatra and Borneo, evicting indigenous tribes and threatening orangutans and other endangered species.

In a magazine advert headed Palm Oil: The Green Answer, the council claimed the oil was the only global crop able to meet growing demand for food and fuel sustainably and efficiently. It claimed the industry followed high environmental standards and referred to its founding membership of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, "which defines standards and monitoring criteria for the sustainable production and use of palm oil".
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